Mimosa Flower as symbol of Italian Women’s Day

The history of a cultural feminist symbol.

Exactly 70 years ago, in 1946, the Italian Women’s Union was looking for a flower to celebrate the very first Women’s Day after the Second World War.

The Union was founded in 1945 with the aim of promoting and actively introducing women to political, cultural and social activities. In charge of the Union were Rita Montagna and Teresa Mattei, who decided that it was important to pick a flower as a symbol for the 8th of March.

At the beginning of March not many flowers had blossomed yet, they could only choose one between windflowers, carnations and mimosas. Mimosas won for two reasons: their ability to grow on arid grounds and harsh climates even though their branches look extremely fragile, and its flower blossom, despite the last icy days of March.

The mimosa’s apparent fragility and willpower to blossom, and interior strength can be compared to the historical figure of the woman and the modern day representation of her.

At the time, mimosas were quite easy to find and not expensive, which is what the Union needed to promote right after the war – something that everyone could access.

In Italy, from the 8th of March 1946, mimosas became a tradition used to celebrate Women’s Day. Men all over Italy buy mimosa branches or plants for their wives, daughters, mothers, to celebrate their sacrifices, their strength and their life. It is important to remember that the gesture of exchanging mimosa flowers on women’s Day was implemented by women for women, and it is a symbol of social commitment and self-assertion.

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