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Galentine’s Day: Date, Meaning and Celebration. Photo KnowInsiders

When is Galentine’s Day?

For some, the prospect of celebrating Valentine’s Day on 14 February fills them with joy as they prepare to shower their significant other with saccharine declarations of love.

For others, a far more exciting event takes precedence – Galentine’s Day, which falls on 13 February every year.

As the name would suggest, Galentine’s Day is a celebration of female friendship.

What is Galentine’s Day?

This day is all about celebrating the unique bond women share with their best gal pals. These best friends come in many different types, but every woman needs them in her life. Galentine’s Day is a made-up holiday (but aren’t all holidays?) and a very recent addition to the calendar of celebrations, but the relationships that it commemorates are as old as they come.

Galentine’s Day is February 13th, or Valentine’s Day Eve.

Where did Galentine's Day come from?

The best thing about Galentine’s Day is that it was created by a fictional character: Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation. In 2010, the second season of Parks and Rec included an episode called “Galentine’s Day,” in which Leslie gathers a group of her closest gal pals for a brunch full of waffles and love. “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style,” Leslie says in the episode. “Ladies celebrating ladies.” And thus, Galentine’s Day was unofficially added to everyone’s calendar. No, seriously: According to The Atlantic, it’s such a widely recognized fake holiday that some companies now run Galentine’s Day promotions. What could be more real than that?

Galentine’s Day was the creation of the beloved fictional deputy director of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Indiana, Leslie Knope. The show’s writers centered the 16th episode of the second season of Parks and Recreation around Leslie’s favorite February tradition, Galentine’s Day. Over a brunch of waffles and excessive gift-giving, Leslie celebrates the joy of female friendship with close friends and co-workers.

What was previously an unknown and unofficial holiday immediately skyrocketed in popularity, so much so that businesses have created Galentine’s Day promotions in honor of the celebration. Special happy hours, group spa discounts, and brunch deals are popular ways to honor the occasion, as the once fictional holiday filled a void in the Valentine’s Day market that left single women feeling alienated by the pomp and circumstance of the lover’s holiday.

The holiday that Knope invented bares striking similarities to her character — over-the-top generosity and impassioned sincerity. Galentine’s Day is to Valentine’s Day what Friendsgiving is to Thanksgiving: a chance to recognize the impact that our friends have on our lives and thank them for their steadfast loyalty, love, and laughter.

We could go on, but we think Leslie explains Galentine’s Day best: “Every February 13, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

Is Galentine's Day a national holiday?

It would be excellent if it was, but sorry — Galentine's Day isn't a national holiday any more than Valentine's Day is. But according to research by lingerie brand Boux Avenue, searches for Galentine's Day have increased 400% since 2015, while Valentine's Day has decreased by 55%. So, take from that what you will.

If you're not the DIY type, you no longer have to subject your friends to your tragic craft attempts. Major retailers like Target and Walmart stock Galentine's Day merch, and a whole slew of independent stores do, too. Cynically, that's probably a move to hook customers who have cooled on the idea of buying for Valentine's Day. A 2019 report from the National Retail Federation suggested that fewer people shell out for Valentine's Day — only 51% of Americans reported that they planned to recognize it last year. But hey, when the shoppies hit, you could do worse than buying your best pal something sweet.

Who can celebrate?

Photo NY Times
Photo NY Times

Probably the biggest argument against Galentine's Day is that it's exclusionary, and that makes sense. Lots of us don't have a whole #squad of gal pals living nearby, or prefer to kick it with people of all genders. And to that, we say to heck with the idea that Galentine's is just for ladies. It's all about sharing your affection for the people you're not romantically partnered with and love knows no genders. Your Galentine's fete can include women, men, trans and nonbinary folks, or anyone you consider a cherished friend. Just so long as they like waffles.

Can guys celebrate Galentine’s Day?

It’s typically a holiday just for women (hence the name), and there are plenty of other holidays to celebrate with both genders. But if you have a special guy or two you really want to invite, go for it…as long as they’re cool with all the girly stuff. That’s the best part of this holiday—you get to set the rules!

READ MORE: Umbrella Day (February 10 ): Date, Celebration, History and Creative Activities

Galentine's Day traditions

Photo Brig Newspaper
Photo Brig Newspaper

Today is all about the girls in your life who are your rock. Be it your sister, mother, or friend, female friendships are very important and there is nothing like it. Girls like to hang out, talk, share secrets, and create memories all the time so there aren’t any specific traditions for this day. Head to your favorite cafe, go ice skating, spend an afternoon with your gal pal at the salon, or just order in a pizza and watch movies.

The holiday did gain popularity from an episode of ‘Parks and Recreation,’ so it always trends every year on this day on social media. Quotes and memes are shared from this specific episode too.

The one thing you must do on Galentine’s Day

However you decide to celebrate your lady friends, there is one thing that Leslie would say needs to happen: Tell your friends, from the bottom of your heart, what they mean to you and how grateful you are to have them in your life. Bonus points for stories! Not a huge talker? Send them a few of these funny Valentine’s Day memes.

How to celebrate Galentine’s Day

Have a secret gift exchange

Photo Cosmopolitan
Photo Cosmopolitan

Presents are never a bad idea, and nothing says ladies celebrating ladies like a whole bunch of cute gifts. Use an online generator like this one to secretly match up you and your friends. Set a price limit, be it $5 or under $25, and ask everyone to wrap the gifts in pink wrapping paper. If you're not together IRL, make sure everyone has enough time to mail their gifts and then take turns opening together on a video call.

Get your girlfriends together

A Galentine's Day celebration isn't so without rallying the ladies together! If you can't all be together in person, a group Skype or FaceTime session will suffice. Whatever the case may be, make sure you're sharing fond memories, lots of laughter, and maybe a few tears -- happy ones only.

Eat, drink, and be merry

Photo The Atlantic
Photo The Atlantic

Perhaps you'll take a feather from Leslie's cap and get the girls together for brunch (waffles in particular), or maybe your girl gang is more of a bottle-of-wine-at-happy-hour plus a cheeseboard type of group. Nothing brings friends together like food, and Galentine's Day is the perfect excuse to indulge in something delicious with your favorite ladies by your side.

Serve heart-shaped food

There's certainly no shortage of heart-shaped eats during this time of year, from grocery store cookies to drugstore chocolates. But, I highly recommend going for a heart-shaped pie. Many local pizza shops run specials on this kind of pizza during February, so there's a likely chance you can find someplace near you that can do something like the picture above.

Treat yo' selves

Parks and Recreation gifted us a wealth of memes, "treat yo' self" being one, Galentine's Day being another. Donna Meagle would be proud if you got the girls together for mani-pedis, facials, or a group trip to the spa for a day of pampering.

Go for a Walk or Hike

We all lead busy lives between work, school, partners, kids, pets—the endless to-do list. Sometimes there is no time to get off the hamster wheel, but you should. “Getting outside with your friend(s) is a fantastic cure-all. It takes our eyes off screens and reconnects us to nature. Walking or hiking, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying the serenity all around us clears the mind of its frantic clutter and gives us a chance to talk or simply be with our friend,” Winter adds.

Girl’s Night Out

Interested in being out and about with your closest gals? Are you on the hunt for a future Valentine? Sometimes the best way to celebrate Galentine’s Day is to show off yourself and your gals to the world. Head over to Harry’s or Northgate and dance the holiday away. Just remember the Leslie Knope Code: Ovaries before brovaries.

Gal’s Night In

Photo Getty
Photo Getty

Of course, sometimes the best memories are made in the comforts of our home and with the families of our choice. Invite your nearest and dearest to your place or plan on going to one of theirs where you can gossip, vent, and laugh to your heart’s content. Make it a potluck or call in for Chinese and include your favorite chick flick on the night’s itinerary.

What are some safe ways to celbrate in a pandemic?

You don't have to eat out to celebrate. Here's a few ideas:

Virtual Happy Hour: Her Agenda suggests gathering your friends on a Zoom call, setting the vibe with good music, and taking turns making and sharing your favorite cocktails.

Pajama Party: "You've probably spent the better part of the past year in pajamas," writes Good Housekeeping. So the magazine suggests putting on your comfiest PJs to celebrate with your friends virtually or in person. If you choose the latter,remember to adhere to your city and state's gathering restrictions and limit your party to a small group of friends.

Cook/Bake Off: If you've spent time during the pandemic baking sourdough bread and following TikTok recipes, this might be the perfect opportunity to show off your skills — and see what your friends have been cooking. In a virtual bake off, you can hand out awards to the prettiest dishes without having to worry about what they taste like.

Paint and Sip Night: Get in touch with your creative side by grabbing some paint supplies and finding an inspiration image, Cosmopolitan suggests. This idea will be just as fun virtually if you feel more comfortable hosting it over Zoom. Just don't forget a bottle of your favorite wine.

Galentine's Day and Numbers

4.98 million household viewers of “Galentine’s Day”

According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode “Galentine’s Day” of Parks and Recreation in the show’s second season garnered nearly 5 million viewers, marking it as an improvement for ratings in the series.

548,000 Instagram posts

Search #GalentinesDay on the social media platform and you’ll find over half a million posts of women celebrating other women in honor of the holiday.

66% of women buying non-romantic gifts in February

Where sales for Valentine’s Day specifically are trending downwards, Hallmark found that nearly 2/3 of women who were purchasing cards around Valentine’s Day were doing so for non-romantic relationships, including friends and family. This prompted the brand to release a line of Galentine’s Day cards and others around platonic relationships.

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