The Italian celebrations of International Women’s Day this Wednesday risk being spoiled by a drought that has affected the production of yellow mimosa flowers that are traditionally offered to women on this date.
The mimosa harvest has dropped by a third, with falling rainfall and higher temperatures forcing farmers to gather branches ahead of time, agricultural association Coldiretti said in a statement.
In addition, higher energy costs due to the war in Ukraine have made storing the fragrant flowers in refrigerators much more expensive, the group said.
On the other hand, the scarce supply of mimosas has driven up prices, said Coldiretti, with large bunches selling for more than 20 euros. This situation, in turn, has led to a sharp increase in theft of flowers from farms by less well-off people determined not to let women down.
Mimosas, first introduced to Italy in the 19th century, were chosen as the country’s symbol for International Women’s Day in 1946, the year after the end of World War II. The choice was made by two members of an anti-fascist organization to embody the strength, energy and perseverance of women.
The first recorded celebration of International Women’s Day was in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, when over a million people came together to support women’s rights.
The several weeks of dry weather at the beginning of 2023 have raised concerns that Italy will face yet another emergency situation in the summer, for the second year in a row.