Czechs still buy flowers for International Women’s Day but “communist” carnations in less demand

Photo: Pixabay / CC0

Czechs continue to buy flowers on International Women’s Day, which falls in two days’ time. However, they are less inclined to purchase carnations, which were common when March 8 was a major event during Czechoslovakia’s communist era, the Czech News Agency reported.

Photo: Pixabay / CC0

Jiří Horák, photo: archive of the Union of Florists
The chairman of the country’s Union of Florists, Jiří Horák, said that primroses, which are now in bloom, are a more popular choice with Czechs today.

Mr. Horák added that the country’s mild weather for the time of year would like benefit his industry. People are less inclined to purchase flowers when there is frost on the ground, he said.

According to the florists’ association, Czechs spent an average of CZK 1,183 on flowers in 2019.

As well as International Women’s Day (commonly referred to in Czech as MDŽ, the acronym for the literal translation), St. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day tend to be boom times for sellers.

Jiří Horák says carnations were widely purchased before the Velvet Revolution because at that time the only other types of flower typically available in Czechoslovak shops were tulips and daffodils.

Belles Fleurs, photo: Google Street View
Today flowers are sold year-round and the range is way broader, from roses to orchids to exotic plants, he said, adding that carnations are no longer much cultivated in the Czech Republic.

However, some Czechs are still keen to buy imported carnations, says Jana Vyhnalová, who heads a chain of florists named Belles Fleurs. She says that “retro” carnations in red and asparagus are actually a hit, while salmon and purple ones are also popular.

The Belles Fleurs chief says tulips are also popular around International Women’s Day, while roses of between 40 and 80 centimetres in length are much sought after. In addition, she says, more and more companies are also putting in orders for flowers at this time of year.

Photo: Alessa Abramoff, Pixabay / CC0
But it is not just flowers that are crossing counters. A spokesperson for supermarket chain Kaufland said boxes of sweets were also in relatively high demand at present.

Meanwhile a representative of the Albert stores said that traditional sweet and wine brands tended to do well at International Women’s Day. Around St. Valentine’s Day, by contrast, high-end chocolates, plush toys, sparkling wines and condoms tend to be a hit.

After the Socialist Party of American held a women’s day in New York in 1909, German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed the following year that March 8 be marked every year as a tribute to working women.