Yesterday was International Women’s Day, March 8th, иди занхо! This is a big holiday in Tajikistan with a lot of build up. During the past week it has been common practice for both friends and strangers alike to congratulate me on my womanhood. An email from my coworker Bobobek is a great example of the holiday’s sentiment: “Dear Ali, I congratulate you and your female families with international Women’s Day. I wish all the bests of the world, good health, and a long and happy life!” It is a day of rest for the whole country.
Madena, Makhlio, and Farzona are some of the women I spent the day with.
Our lunch at work on Monday was a special treat. Osh, a favorite national dish was prepared and our male coworkers recited poetry to us about how wonderful women are as we ate. There was an awkward silence from the male contingent when I asked if they helped out with housework on women’s day. An older gentleman broke the silence by stating “well, that doesn’t happen in every house.” My female coworkers joked that it might not happen in any house.
Madena stokes the fire to cook dinner.
The novelty of this new holiday was a wonderful experience. I’ve never before felt so glorified for being born with two X chromosomes. I spent lunch in the company of my female friends, midday was a time reserved for females to spend together in celebration and appreciation of one another. Dinner was a family affair, with more food than we could consume, and lots of toasting to women and womanhood.
The dinner spread. There wasn't enough room on the table for all the food!
In a society where men dominate everything, except maybe childbirth, it was a special day and perhaps a needed one.