On a recent mid-March Spoleto guided tour, my tour guests and I spotted a shop window displaying perfume bottles flanked by branches of yellow mimosa tied with yellow bows:
In harmony with the bright yellow of the flowers was my yellow mask, the same one I had been wearing on March 8th, International Women’s Day, when I had brought the traditional mimosa to a friend….
International Women’s Day on March 8th is celebrated in Italy with bright yellow mimosa (and as I discovered recently, also in the Ukraine):
Italy has feted International Women’s Day with mimosa since 1946 following a proposal by Teresa Mattei, a combatting partigiana (partisan) in World War II and later one of the youngest members of the Italian Parliament. The predominant floral symbols of the day had always been violets and lilies-of-the-valley: scarce and costly in March in Italy. For her country’s International Women’s Day symbol, Mattei proposed the mimosa, a simple seasonal flower.
Celebrated around the globe on March 8th, the origins of International Women’s Day date back to the early 1900s, tracing its history to women’s protests and movements in Russia, Europe and North America as you can read here. The United Nations officially recognized International Women’s Day in 1975.
On the way to visit my friend Mary that day, I had passed a couple of (fortunate!) homes with a mimosa bush in front:
As gifts for the special women in one’s life, florists offer bouquets of all sizes highlighted with vibrant yellow mimosa for March 8th.
In the morning on March 8th, Jessica, an artistic young woman whose floral stand is just outside the cemetery of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Assisi),…..
….peeked out with a beam behind her luminous yellow mimosa bouquets when I stopped for a floral purchase:
She’d been working for days on floral creations starring mimosa – and still was: backdropped by varieties of cut flowers, ribbons, paper and her clippers spread out on the counter alongside mimosa branches:
Jessica’s mimosa creations varied from the elegant to the playful and whimsical:
In the cemetery behind her stand, her mimosa sprays also honored deceased loved ones. They had been placed on many recent graves…
…and those of men as well as women:
Mimosa brightened many loculi as well:
As is the custom all over Italy, the obituary board was right outside the Santa Maria degli Angeli cemetery and I noted one woman’s obituary notice was brightened with a sprig of yellow mimosa:
Across the street from il cimitero, mimosa bushes were for sale….
…..but I knew I had to resist: no hope for survival where we are as winter here can bring icy days, windy days.
On a side road leading me back to Assisi, I had passed a house with a lovely mimosa bush and stopped to take a photo:
The elderly owners came out as I stood near their fence and I asked them if they minded if I photographed their bellissima mimosa?
They were delighted to be photographed near their mimosa tree along with a neighbor:
……and then la signora took out clippers, started snipping away and with a smile, passed me a huge buch of mimosa over the fence!
In Italy – where cuisine is a cultural phenomenon and linked to every festival – mimosa stars in the pasticccerie. The torta di mimosa (“mimosa cake”) is sold in many a pastry shop, both small single- portion ones and larger cakes, too…
I was in Assisi’s Pasticceria Sensi with tour guest, Melinda, and knew our daughter Giulia should certainly have one for March 8th:
….and Giulia also received a few of those precious mimosa branches cut for me by that kind elderly couple.
The other branches are on our dining room table, joining the mimosa bouquet with rose, a gift from our little grandson, Milo:
Mille grazie, Milo (and thanks, Giulia!)