The International Women’s Day (commonly known in Italy as Woman feast “festa della donna”), is celebrated every year on 8 March, to commemorate both the social achievements of women and economic policies, both the discrimination and violence which they still must endure in many parts of world. This celebration was held for the first time in the United States in 1909, and in some European countries in 1911 and Italy in 1922. The long strike, called out by more than 20,000 New York shirtmakers, from 22 November 1908-15 February 1909, was considered an event that joined the union’s demands to political recognition of the right the women’s vote. With the end of the war, on 8 March 1946 the womensday was celebrated throughout Italy for the first time, with the first appearance of its symbol, the mimosa, which just blooms in first days of March.
The flowers and tip shoots are harvested for use as cut flowers, when it is known by florist trade as “mimosa”. In Italy, Albania, Russia and Georgia the flowers are frequently given to women on International Women’s Day.
In Italy the idea of selecting this flower as the symbol of the Women’s Day is attributed to the initiative of the feminists Teresa Noce, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei in 1946: probably the choice was simply driven by seasonality and by a factor of taste. With time the custom to pay homage to women with a branch of mimosa is turned into a real habit. For Italians March 8th is linked to mimosa which becomes the symbol.
For some, the name dates back to the Latin “mimus”, mime, or “mimesis,”imitation”, as some plants species seem to interpret when they contract, through the same intensity as the of grimaces’s mimes mimic the feeling of shame. For most, however, the most credible theory sees a root from Spanish language, where mime means caress. And hence the easy connection with the feminine world.
In the past the mimosa was loaded with deep meanings: American Indians used to give a sprig when they decided to declare their love to their girl. In England there was a time when not-so-good-looking girls put on their jackets or blouses a bunch of Silver Wattle to accentuate their femininity. For masonry, the mimosa was emblem of strength mixed with kindness.
Just “mimosa pudica” inspired some scientists at the University of Michigan to create robots that can twist, bend, harden and even able to repair themselves in response to environmental stimuli. In fact, the mimosa is one of the rare plants in nature to show visibly the phenomenon of “Nastic osmosis”. At last, a curiosity, the mimosas are among the most appetizing food for the giraffes that can swallow up to 145,5 lbs per day.