8th of March In Ukraine – International Women’s Day (??)

Some American guys and guys from other foreign countries often face up with the problem that their Ukrainian girlfriend is getting offended and even sometimes does not talk to them for the whole next day and the guy does not know what the reason for such  attitude is. Sometimes it even comes to serious scandals, but the peculiarity of such issue is that it happens only once a year – on the 8th of March. The problem is that in Ukraine it is called International Women’s Day and Ukrainian women truly believe all the world celebrates this holiday, because it is called “International”. Western women demand equal rights and freedoms, they want respectful and tolerant attitude every day of the year, but not only once a year on the 8th of March. Western women assume such holiday is even humiliating to women, but women of former CIS countries and some other countries which were under influence of communistic regime still celebrate the 8th of March as The Day Of All Women.

Traditional roots of the holiday

As it is used that traditionally in Ukraine woman usually did all hard housework like doing laundry, ironing, cooking food or doing dishes, as well as many other heavy tasks, this day woman was allowed (!) to have rest and do not do any of usual duties. Man was supposed to do all this (considered being woman’s) work himself and this day he had no right to make any reproach to his wife. So, once in a year (!) woman was supposed not to do any of hard work, but the rest 364 days of the year she was supposed to. Not bad, such a day off during the whole year, ha? That is why in form of ironic joke in Ukraine women are called to be masters of life this day. In Russia there is even a popular proverb which terribly sounds like: “Be quiet, woman, the 8th of March is your day!”

Political aspects

There were conversations among Ukrainian politicians to postpone this closely connected with communistic heritage holiday and the main argument was to make the 8th of March usual working day, like it is in Poland, for example, where they celebrate by greeting women, giving them flowers and making presents, but it is usual day according to the Government, but this idea did not find support in Ukraine, because women are active participants on the elections and taking such unpopular decision would make bad reputation on the party which would decide “took a seat on the holy day”.

How is it celebrated now

First of all it is National Day Off in Ukraine, so no one, including women and men, works this day. Men prepare presents for all female representatives of their family. It is not like Valentine’s Day when you make presents only to the person you love, but it is when man has to great every woman: his wife or girlfriend, his mother, his daughter, his sister, and even every women he knows, whom he will meet this day – i.e. neighbors, colleagues at work, etc. For wife or girlfriend usually the best present is jewelry, some new edge gadget or clothes. Such stuff is often presented on 8th of March in Ukraine. For the daughter (if she is in child age or teen age) some special present is needed as well, for example, a doll for child daughter and roller skates for teen daughter. For mother, if she lives in the same town or village usually flowers are presented, but it also might be another present like book or a plant (orchid). If mother is far away, it is a need to call and greet her on the phone or on the Internet. Often husband except for the main present for his wife also brings flowers as well.

As for the celebration itself, the family gathers at the common holiday table. It could be husband, wife and their children or the relatives of husband and wife as well as cousins and aunts may join common celebration. On the table they have many tasty dishes, drink alcohol (men preferably vodka and women preferably red wine, although, it depends). For desert, at the end of the celebration, they usually have a cake.

Celebration at work

Although the 8th of March in Ukraine is a day off, it is celebrated at work as well, but in advance. Usually, on the 7th of March, – the day before. Usually all the men’s representatives of the company gather particular sum of money and order a café or restaurant and after work go there with their women colleagues after work. Sometimes they celebrate even during the working day, drinking alcohol right on the workplace, although, it is more about some state institutions, because private businesses does not allow themselves such attitude during the work.

Things about 8th of March that will surprise you

Holiday was made up not in the Soviet Union, although it is strongly associated with communistic era. By the decision of the United Nations “International Women’s Day” has acquired official status of the holiday. It has happened in 1975.

The 8th of March history

Even though now the special date for Women’s day looks even humiliating to many representatives of Western female society, the purpose of the holiday was the struggle of women of the Planet for their rights. The idea was proclaimed in 1910 in Copenhagen, during The Second International Conference of Working Women. Clara Zetkin, representative of Social Democratic Party of Germany, formal leader of its women’s group, proposed to celebrate Women’s Day the same day every year and in every country.

How to greet Ukrainian woman on the 8th of March?

The most common phrases on 8th of March greeting are following:


How to say it:  Vitayu z vosmym bereznia

What does it mean: My Greetings on the 8th of March

How it looks in Ukrainian Cyrillic: Вітаю з восьмим березня


How to say it:  Vitayu zi sviatom

What does it mean: My Greetings on the holiday

How it looks in Ukrainian Cyrillic: Вітаю зі святом

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