March 8 is a very important day in Kazakhstan. It is when one half of the population pay their respects to the other half. It’s a holiday that isn’t recognised or celebrated in the U.K., but I can imagine that roughly 50% of the population would very much like this occasion to be marked domestically. It is International Women's Day!
Kazakh fun fact: International Women’s Day is celebrated by buying flowers, and are particularly busy in the days before March 8.
The Russian word for women is женщина, pronounced ZHEN-shi-na. It is normally a national holiday in Kazakhstan, creating a long weekend. This results, however, in people returning to work on a Sunday, which was not on our agenda. We thus opted to work on the Thursday and have a long weekend starting on Friday.
We celebrated in school with an Assembly and then a staff party at the end of the day, in which we treated the females to an alternative, funnier version of Enrique Iglesias’ classic ‘Hero’, and also sung a famous Russian song. Well, the Russian speakers sang, and the rest of us sang the chorus. All good fun.
I live with three girls, and hints had been dropped in the days leading up to the day that I should honour them in some way. I went out the night before – we were silly enough to not book a table in advance, which we will remember next year – and on my return bought presents for the trio. They were awoken with a rose each and a bottle of (fake) champagne. They seemed to approve.
I spent most of my day sending some lovely limericks to some of the ladies in school. Examples include:
There once was a lady called Claire,
One day she bumped into a bear!
He was struck by her beauty
And exclaimed ‘What a cutie!’
As her fingers drew through her smooth hair.
There’s a beauty who’s called Caroline,
With whom I will drink lots of wine,
She goes to the gym
Which I think is quite dim
As her legs are quite simply divine!
As for our long weekend, we spent much of it eating. Chinese, Georgian, Yorkshire puddings – to suggest that we pigged out would be…spot on. We also spent time doing the usual of drinking and generally enjoying ourselves.
What we definitely did do was toast the women around us. After all, the reason we had a long weekend was to celebrate them. Don’t be too jealous at home!
Love you all