- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 March 14, 2003 

Flower Power: A month of honoring women is a beautiful break from politics

When Anahit Harutyunyan, who lives in the Geghard village in Kotayk region, reminded her 11-year old daughter Sona that she had to pick "snowdrops" from a nearby field, the little girl got very happy.

Sona remembered that the day was coming when they take the flowers to Yerevan, and sell them at a price greater than they usually get.

"On March 8 (the Day of Women) we bring about 150 bunches of snowdrops and sell it with Sona in the capital's streets. People buy it at about 150-200 drams and leave satisfied," says Anahit.

For many people such flowers are a cheap present, even though on March 8 prices of flowers are artificially increased. And they stay that way for a month, till April 7, another holiday devoted to women.

"From March 8 till April 7 the one-month holiday starts, when business of flower sellers is going on rather well," says flower retailer Gevorg Muradyan. "Often when we feel that a higher price means nothing for a buyer, we use a little cunning and raise the price. Anyway, they are going to buy it."

Last year the National Assembly of Armenia added March 8 as the International Day of Women, but also kept April 7 as Mothers' and Beauty Day.

Armenian women and girls are proud of their advantage. They officially get twice as much congratulations, presents and flowers.

"This one month grants women with a full feeling of happiness," says teacher Gayane Babasyan. "These two holidays change a lot of things in lives of our women. Today I feel especially good. It seems that the day is simply mine."

Naira Vardanyan works in the military unit as a phone operator. She is very pleased with two holidays devoted to women.

"We've been told there will be a bigger surprise for us at April 7. And we will anticipate it impatiently," she says.

The holiday month is a chance for Armenian men to show their love of women, a sentiment well-expressed by accountant Albert Arakelyan: "Women are everything to us. We don't exist without them. The fair sex has to be given flowers 366 days of the year."

And this year, those who failed at their duties March 8, will get a chance to redeem themselves a month later.

Flower sellers aren't complaining about the added sales day, as they expect to earn from 3,000 drams up to 25,000 drams (from about $5 to about $40) for their bouquets.

Last Saturday (March 8) was the start of the month-long tribute to women, when men such as Robert Martirosyan express their feelings in blossoms and blooms.

"On the days like these men must be more caring and responsible," he says. "I will give my wife this wonderful orchids' posy, which says everything."

And in this hot election year, it seems the attention to women, came just in time.

"I think the meaning of this relative break is very important," says Armen Mkrtchyan, who follow politics, but also likes the break to honor women.

"Presidential and parliamentary elections are separated with the period of time from March 8 to April 7. This is a convenient opportunity to revive."

His wife Elya Hakobyan is very happy: "The air became so heated with politics that men absolutely forgot about us. I was surprised when my husband came home with flowers."


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  Photo of the week
  Blooming Mad
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Blooming Mad

March 8 is always the Day of Women in Armenia. This year, however, it was the Day of Angry Women, as a few thousand took their bouquets into the streets to protest last week's Presidential runoff election.



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