Started as a political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries but in Poland it started from Russia I think (primarily Russia and the countries of former Soviet bloc). It was a time that every man usual gives to woman, girl, mother, wife or female friend, some small gift usual cloves necessarily red. Why because those flowers are inexpensive, and it was a politically correctly to give such flower to every woman (My father even now say that he do not celebrate this day because it was the communistic propaganda, but he only say so, he buy my mother bouquet of roses for this occasion).
For some time, the day lost its political accent, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the women around them, close to them. Now it is a celebration similar to Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day mixed together.