International Women’s Day
For many, International Women’s Day is a day heralding the many diverse achievements of women. More recently, it has been a call to “accelerated gender parity” (http://www.internationalwomensday.com). Despite its highly political sentiment for many, for others it has become likened to that of Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. A day in which people express their love and affection for the women in their lives. The history of Women’s Day dates back as early as 1909, and some say was first celebrated in the U.S.A. during changing times as women struggled for civil rights. Over the past century, the human rights movement has persistently brought the struggles of women to the forefront of society; to both humanity’s betterment, as many injustices against women have been quelled, but also to our detriment as God-ordained femininity has become increasingly murky in light of the pursuit of so called “gender parity”.
March 8 is the official date of International Women’s Day. It is recognized as a state sanctioned holiday, and therefore, state institutions and schools are closed. The Hungarian Reformed School in Peterfalva, however, remained open, but celebrated Women’s Day in a manner similar to that of Valentine’s Day. In each of the four classes, the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, the boys made special plans to surprise their female classmates. In the 9th class, for example, the boys, assisted by their history teacher, planned an afternoon party during a study hall of cupcakes, Coca-Cola, and red carnations for their female classmates. I (Stacey) went looking for the 9th grade class in order to remind them of an English lesson; instead I was quickly shown to a seat at the table with the girl students, presented with a red carnation, and offered sweet treats to enjoy with the girls. In the 10th class, the boys, made “palacsinta” or pancakes for the girls. In the 11th class, the boys, armed with the help of their kind mothers, planned a special dinner for their female classmates and teachers at which they served the ladies, sang for them, and bestowed upon them a blessing.
Other local signs of International Women’s Day: the cooks in the kitchen at the school were given chocolate and flowers, the Pastor at the Reformed church presented all of the lady staff at the Reformed boarding school with flowers, and in the teacher’s staff room, the lady teachers were showered with flowers and chocolate. Here in Transcarpathia, although International Women’s Day is observed, there is no political agenda. Instead, there is a genuine heartfelt display of gratitude for the women in people’s lives, and it is seen as an opportunity to graciously express thanks to these women for the many different roles they fulfil.
A friend of mine shared on Facebook a poignant and meaningful message by John Piper, called The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood. Below is the link.
In a world with an increasingly warped sense of masculinity and femininity, Piper succinctly conveys what “True Womanhood” is, with direct application for both the married and single woman. To all the many precious ladies whom we call friends, family, and sisters in Christ, Happy Women’s Day!