International Babushka Day
Ukraine has its fair share of holidays. Sometimes I leave my apartment and find the streets completely empty—despite it being a weekday. Since I travel often—and I haven’t spent enough time here to become fully immersed into the culture—these holidays catch me by surprise.
Holidays are like paper clips, paintings, elevators, or door handles: they all originated with an individual having an idea.
And after an emotionally charged experience last summer, the idea of a new holiday landed in my thoughts: International Babushka Day.
As I wrote about in my recent story on the “The Real Mafia in Ukraine,” babushkas are a powerful force that watch and control every move of Ukrainian society. They are also a population that’s been left in the dust.
Babushkas come in all forms and sizes and can be your best friends or worst enemies. I can only speak for myself, but my experiences with Ukrainian babushkas have been mostly positive. They’ve always greeted me into my apartment building, hand delivered my mail, and given me the proper intel on the neighborhood. One might be able to buy a babushka's actions, but they'll never be able to buy her soul. They're a genuine bunch.
But there’s also a great sadness to many babushkas who’ve lost husbands, family support, jobs, and must live on tiny pensions. A system that promised them economic stability suddenly disappeared overnight, leaving many in a position with no plan B.
Last summer, after buying flowers for my girlfriend, I walked towards a babushka sitting on the sidewalk with deep frown lines and sadness emanating from her eyes. She tilted her head up slowly as I walked by and looked at my flowers like I was holding sunshine in my hands.
So, I gave her the flowers.
Perhaps those flowers brought back some nostalgia from when she was young and sitting on a park bench with a young Vanya whom she’d fallen in love with. That strapping young Soviet who captured her heart with his smile, a cold Zhygulivske (beer), and, most importantly, flowers. It’s possible that was the last time anybody gave her flowers.
The second I gave the babushka flowers, sadness dissolved from her face, a powerful glow of spirit came through her deep blue eyes. Those creviced frown lines flattened… her lips followed, turning upwards. She was in disbelief; she held the flowers gently away from her body, as if I were letting her borrow them.
I told her they were a gift. Her body language opened like she was allowed to be young again. I felt something positive spark inside of me; I walked away with a new lightness in my step.
After a minute, I looked back down the street at the babushka; she was holding the flowers close to her chest like an infant, rocking them back and forth, glowing as people passed by. I can say that, for at least a day, her world brightened.
We’re all more connected than we realize. The average person knows about a thousand people. These thousand people are connected to a million people. These million people are connected to a billion people.
That’s why the ripple effect of our actions is so huge. A babushka who smiles throughout the day raises the positive frequency of those walking by her. Those people’s frequencies rise as they emit more positivity to those around them. The communal energy manifests at a higher level.
So, by helping change a babushka’s mood, you can help change society for the better. Hence, the reason for the new holiday.
I know there’s a danger in naming this celebration “International Babushka Day,” since the definition of “babushka” is a bit loose. There isn’t an exact age that a woman officially becomes a babushka, there's no ceremony that happens….
But, really, this holiday is about giving flowers to women who are about 55 and older. This doesn’t have nearly the same ring as the word “babushka.” And “babushka” is quite possibly the coolest sounding word on the planet, so I’m using it.
The first International Babushka Day will be on June, 24th. To celebrate, all you need to do is give a babushka flowers, watch her response, and naturally pass along the feeling you get from it.
If you want more updates on International Babushka Day as the time gets closer, feel free to connect with me on Instagram or FB.I’m going to make a cool video of the event.