Women's Day is an internationally observed date, but no other country celebrates it with half the fervor and enthusiasm that Russia does. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the holiday in Russia. The majority of the population will get the day off work and be able to enjoy the lineup of themed events lined up for the weekend. Those that don't will finish early, and in all likeliness, be saturated with champagne.
Female employees can expect to receive gifts in the form of flowers or chocolates — 50 percent of male Russian office workers plan to give gifts to their female colleagues, according to poll respondents on
More extravagant, personal items are given by husbands, boyfriends or direct family members, in the form of perfume, cosmetics or jewelry. Sometimes a man will also volunteer to do all the household tasks traditionally performed by women in order for them to get a real, full day of rest.
A mere 9 percent of men plan to ignore the holiday in the workplace, citing a poor financial situation, tense team situation or lack of an organizer for such an event, according to the poll. However, some said the reason is that they have no women in their offices or have been regularly ignored on Defender of the Fatherland Day on Feb. 23, though female respondents dryly argued that 364 days a year are "Men's Day."
Women's Day will be celebrated in the media and at various venues across the city, so there should be no shortage of activity options, regardless of what your mood is like on the weekend.
Less than a week ago, Russia crowned its most beautiful woman, Elmira Abdrazakova, in the final of the Miss Russia beauty pageant, which will be broadcast on this holiday. The Russian media has also made efforts to identify the country's most influential women in recent weeks, placing Valentina Matviyenko, Russia's first ever female Federation Council Speaker, at the top of the list alongside others in high-ranking government positions.
The "Feminism from the Avant-Garde to Our Day" exhibition is the perfect opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The exhibit opens Thursday at the Manezh Exhibition Hall (1 Manezh Square). The primary focus is on the collection "Amazon," which displays the works of Alexandra Exter, Natalya Goncharova, Lyubov Popova, Olga Rozanova and Varvara Stepanova. This grouping illustrates the important role of women in the art world of the early 20th century, demonstrating that at this point they were not just the arm candy or muses of successful husbands, but the source of the talent itself.
Queen Elizabeth II's favorite tenor, Alessandro Safina, will perform in a solo concert at the Barvikha Luxury Village (114 Rublevo-Uspenskoye Shosse) on the holiday. For the Russian alternative of a love-struck singer, the best bet is on Georgian-born engineer Valery Meladze who is performing at Crocus City Hall (65-66 km mark of the Moscow Ring Road) that same day with his "20 Stories About Love" program.
The original musical "Graf Orlov," playing at the Moscow Operetta Theater (6 Bolshaya Dmitrovka Ulitsa), chronicles the tragic love affair between a count and a young woman who presented herself as the rightful heir to the Russian throne during Catherine the Great's reign — just right for a tear-jerking and hand-holding type of evening.
The popular acting ensemble Kvartet I is back with its first premiere after a lengthy hiatus. Four men with an incredible sense of humor will be reading letters, accompanied by songs of the well-known Russian band Neschastny Sluchai at Kvartet I Theater (18 Lesnaya Ulitsa). If you don't catch the show March 7, there will be other performances March 12, 21 and 28.
The passionate and gorgeous dancers from Ireland's "Lord of the Dance" are coming to the retail-entertainment complex Vegas (24 km from the Moscow Ring Road along the Kashirskoye Shosse) on March 9 to lead a masterclass in their complex stepping style. The choreographer Michael Flatley, 54, still travels around the world with the dance group and will present his DVD and greet masterclass students in Vegas through an online video translation. "Lord of the Dance" will next return to Moscow at the end of April for four big shows.
CCC Garage (9 Krymsky Val in Gorky Park) is presenting the first personal exposition of French artist Philippe Parreno in Russia, titled "Marilyn." This is a film-portrait of the ghost of Marilyn Monroe who appears in the room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York where she was living in the 1950s. The film creates a sense of Monroe's presence with the help of a computer reconstructing the actress' voice and a robot reproducing her handwriting.
Sokolniki Park will be transformed into the "ideal women's world" for March 8. The ingredients of this ideal world include a holiday concert, dance flash mobs, masterclasses in applying makeup and braiding hair, and culinary shows alongside lectures by dietitians. The park will also host the WedWay wedding festival for the duration of the weekend where you'll be able to judge the work of the city's trendiest photographers and videographers.
Then again, if you happen to agree with the 13 percent of the women in
- Aliide Naylor, Inna Kiyasova and Lena Smirnova contributed to this report.