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10 March 2019 | in Winter Universiade

Looking back on a day of commemoration with plenty of flowers

If you’re visiting Russia for the very first time you might find yourself asking, “what’s with all the flowers?”

 

You’ll find a flower shop or stall on every street and in almost every building. But one day, in particular, seems to be a popular day to give flowers in this transcontinental country. International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on the 8th of March.

 

A day that first emerged from the labor movements of women across Europe and North America dating back to the early 1900s. It brings our attention to the economic, social, cultural and political issues that women face across the globe. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his best wishes to the women of his nation and wished them health and happiness.

 

Spending that special day in the Russian Federation for the first time, I noticed how important the act of flower-giving was. It was a busy day in Krasnoyarsk. Not only because of the 29th Winter Universiade but because the International Women’s Day celebrations had the city buzzing. Walking outside in the Siberian cold didn’t feel as bad when seeing the smiling faces and hearing the laughter of the local women as they showed off the flowers they received.

 

It’s obvious the locals spare no expense when it comes to giving flowers on this important day. Sergei Syromolotov, owner of the Lovi Bucket flower shop, said he sold around 2,000 flowers on International Women’s Day this year.

 


Sergei Syromolotov is breaking stereotypes by showing us that big men like him can also own flower shops and love what they do!
 

“Not only do the flowers prepare us for spring, but they’re a symbol of beauty in Russia. And to give women these flowers is to tell them they’re beautiful,” he said.

 

“Flower-giving is a way to show you care and to show warmth to people.”

  

International Women’s Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of women who have done exceptional things. As the Winter Universiade is taking place there is one, in particular, who has broken many barriers to get to where she is.

  

Trailblazer Zahra Lari is a 24-year-old figure skater from the United Arab Emirates. Lari said her interest in the sport developed after she watched the movie Ice Princess and she soon decided that’s what she wanted to do.

  

She comes from a country where this sport is not recognized at all and now she finds herself at the FISU Games representing her nation on a global stage. Lari has had to withstand many critics and was docked many points in competitions because she performs wearing a hijab as this is part of her religion. She has become a beacon of hope for many young figure skaters out there, and her social media pages are full of empowering quotes and messages of encouragements to others just like her.

 

Zahra Lari, we applaud you, you deserve all the flowers in the world.

 

By FISU International Young Reporter Laykin Rudolph at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade

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