The Women's Day in Communist Poland

The 8th of March was one of those holidays that were special to the Polish authorities during communist time.

Schools held solemn assemblies with kids dressed up in white shirts and blouses to go with dark blue pants or skirts, who recited poems, sung songs and presented other artistic achievements. Flowers were given to teachers and the staff, the kids were happy as classes were cut short.

Offices and factories held celebrations with speeches made by the management or party officials, a glass of wine or champagne (yes, “champagne” was cheap, imported from the Soviet Union) and toast to the hard working women, presents given (flowers, nylons, soap bars, boxes of chocolates, coffee – the attributes of what was hard to obtain in the stores).

Special news coverages showing hard working, bur happy women were plenty.

It was a truly special day.

The busy street corners turned into small stalls selling flowers (usually carnations) by red nosed skinny gentlemen who saw an opportunity for a quick, tax free, cash. The private florists and greenhouse owners were happy as their trade multiplied that day.

Then came the late, late ”returns” of exhausted husbands, who often prolonged the fiesta and came back home with a happy face and sometimes broken and dead flowers and oozing with alcohol.

But it was all forgiven, after all it was a Women's Day!

This was another excuse to some for an evening out with their pals after the official celebrations. A happy day it was. For some, the day after was the gray, not so happy reality.

So, Ladies – good day to you, enjoy the presents and the flowers and best wishes!

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