Exploring the history and symbolism of mimosa blossoms and their connection to celebrating women’s achievements and struggles on March 8 in Italy
International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 each year, is a global event that honours the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. In Italy, this anniversary has the unique tradition of giving mimosa flowers to women.
The tradition of distributing mimosas on International Women’s Day in Italy dates back to 1946, when Italian feminist and politician Teresa Mattei proposed the idea of using the flower as a symbol of the holiday. Mattei chose the mimosa because it blooms at the beginning of March, is fragrant and has a bright yellow colour that represents the vitality and strength of women.
Since then, the mimosa has become a strong symbol of International Women’s Day in Italy and it is customary to give the flower to women. In the days leading up to March 8, the streets and shops of Italy are filled with bouquets of mimosa and it is common to see women wearing the flower on their lapels or in their hair.
The gift of the mimosa has become a way of showing appreciation and respect for the important role women play in Italian society. It is a gesture intended to acknowledge the struggles and achievements of women and to express gratitude for the way they have contributed to the cultural, economic and political development of the country. The tradition of distributing mimosas on International Women’s Day has also taken on a broader meaning in Italy, beyond its original feminist roots. It has become a way to celebrate the diversity and unity of women across the country and to recognise the important contribution women make in all areas of life.
In recent years, the tradition has also been adapted to men, who wear a sprig of mimosa on the lapel of their jackets as a sign of solidarity with women. This gesture is meant to show that the fight for gender equality is not just a women’s issue, but a human issue that affects everyone.
The tradition of handing out mimosas on International Women’s Day in Italy has become an important part of the country’s cultural heritage as well as an invitation to continue working for a fairer and more equitable future for all.
Three fun facts about mimosa flowers:
- The mimosa is also known as acacia dealbata and is a part of the pea family.
- The mimosa has inspired many Italian artists and writers over the years. The Italian poet Eugenio Montale wrote a famous poem entitled The Return of the Mimosa in honour of the flower and the artist Mario Schifano created a series of paintings with mimosa in the 1960s.
- The tradition of giving mimosas on International Women’s Day has also inspired the creation of mimosa-flavoured sweets in Italy, such as mimosa cakes, chocolates and liqueurs.
Where to get good mimosa-flavoured pastries in Rome:
If you are in Rome and want to try mimosa-flavoured sweets, there are several places you can visit. One of the most popular is Pasticceria Regoli, a historic pastry shop that has been serving traditional Italian pastries since 1916, often including a delicious mimosa cake, or Pasticceria Walter Musco – Bompiani, which offers delicious mimosa pastries, with layers of fluffy sponge cake and custard, topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.