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Every year, on March 8th, Italians celebrate the Festa della donna, otherwise known as International Women’s Day, with Mimosa flowers, cakes and festive events. So where does the Festa della donna originate from? The United Nations’ International Women’s Day has its roots in two countries, the USA and revolutionary Russia. Originally a political event, the earliest celebration was organized in 1909 by the International Ladies Garment Union in support of New York workers striking for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In Italy, celebrations date back to March 1946 when two activists, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei, decided to mark International Women’s Day with a symbolic gesture offering branches of mimosa to other women as a sign of mutual respect, sisterhood and support. Mimosa was chosen for a number of reasons: On a practical level, it is one of the few plants blooming at this time of the year. Furthermore, despite having tiny yellow puffs as flowers, the Mimosa is a strong plant that can survive adverse conditions. It therefore became a perfect symbol for the equality movement that wanted to turn Italy into a place where women could grow and prosper! Buona festa della donna a tutte!