Reflections on Festa della Donna

February 28th 2011 by Katie

Why not celebrate women EVERY DAY? The unique and special moments I have experienced being a woman on the streets of Florence.


The Festa della Donna (Women's Day) is a day that originated in New York back in 1908. Italy adapted March 8th as a day to celebrate and remember all the struggles for women through political, social and economic issues. The symbol of this day is called a mimosa. A simple yellow flower that has a sweet scent. We have Valentine’s Day, but Women’s Day is even more of beautiful day to celebrate the women you love. Flowers, chocolate, a nice dinner at a romantic restaurant, what a meaningful day it could be? If you aren’t in a couple, let’s hope a nice male friend will present you with some sentiment or even a simple flower.

Credits: Flickr

The compliments go beyond just words. Actions always speak louder. Moreover, having a gentleman give up his seat for you on the bus or an distinguished older man stopping mid-sentence to tell you “Che visione sei!”. What a compliment, I was given. I have noticed how men react to me in these past two years since I moved to Florence. There is a shift in how I carry myself. Since I have established myself as a working English teacher and writer, I have been able to take care of myself in a more confident way.

Credits: Flickr

I frequent a panino shop in the center of Florence where all types of characters enter at any given moment during the day. I consider them a theater of players and once and a while there are people who really strike me. People are honest and very polite as well. Before Christmas, there was this distinguished older man who is probably in his 70s that entered the shop. He comes in with his nicest suit dressed for a nice walk around the city. When he comes in, both of my friends greet him kindly and begin talking to him about whatever is on his mind. Then when he saw me, this time. He immediately stopped talking. Looked at me and then looked away. I felt out of place. The sweet man said to me finally, “Che occhi c’e l’hai! Fanno il mio cuore battere più forte (What eyes you have! They make my heart beat faster)” I was beside myself with embarrassment but overall confidence that women, in general, should hear these comments more often.

Credits: Flickr

I had another encounter with a younger man recently. He said to my friend how beautiful I was. Just like that. Without even a hesitation. I feel that these days that celebrate either women or love in general are a little forced. Shouldn’t we celebrate the women we love everyday? Shouldn’t we spread the joy to all the women in our life? Shouldn't love be shared and shown in an overwhelming certainty every day? Just because there is a day for this particular group of people, we should shift this idea and move towards the idea of celebrating the people we love each and every day. I will never forget that distinguished older man in the panino shop. The way he made me feel light as a feather, feeling as beautiful as he expressed it. Festa della Donna is a holiday that should be celebrated each day of each month of every year.

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  1. [...] Greenaway also muses about International Womens Day, Italian style, in a post called, Reflections on Festa della Donna in which she shares, “The unique and special moments I have experienced being a woman on the [...]

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  4. I am a member of an International Women's Club. The entire club will be going out to dinner together to celebrate Festa della Donna!!!

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Reflections on Festa della Donna