Ukrainian International Womens Day 2008

Ukrainians love a holiday – it is their national sport and will thrash any country at the next Olympics in the half-day dash or the long weekend jump. Anyway – tommorrow is an official holiday – International Womens Day – which is like Valentines Day on acid. Think of Christmas and add in your birthday and you are not close – this is serious stuff here.

Everywhere women are expectant at the presents they will receive – most notably flowers. I have it on good authority that one rose is enough but 10 go down a treat so no change East v West there. The women with one rose can be seen walking around smiling but those with the full cellophane greenhouse are positively beaming.

It is an odd phenomenon though – it is a mark of respect to women so you are as likely to give flowers to memebers of your family and friends as your wife or girlfriend – it is not per se a romantic gesture – which takes a while to understand. There is a male equivalent – Mans Day but that fell away about 10 years ago – it was to honour the man as a soldier and it’s a shame – I was looking forward to marching about in Army fatigues or sitting on a tank in heroic pose. I may do it anyway.

Anyway – back to the holiday aspect and the Ukrainians come into their own. As it is on a Thursday then why not take Friday off as well? And … as you will not see work colleagues on the day itself then why not have a flower presenting ceremony at lunchtime and a light salad and some wine in the office. Half the week is effectively killed off.

And then there is the traffic – with a four day break coming up the roads are packed and probably just as well – all along the wide streets men dash across through gaps in the traffic carrying ridiculously large bunches of flora. The only place where you will get run over is the pavement – which really what 4×4 cars were built for – men leaping up kerbs and cutting over roundabouts in their haste to get home.

In their wake – women pushing prams out of the way or in the cold selling flowers.  

Now that is ironic. 

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