Galentine’s Day: The Origins of the Friend-Centered Holiday

Friends Meeting For Drinks And Food Making A Toast In Restaurant
    Friends Meeting For Drinks And Food Making A Toast In Restaurant
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    Used under Getty Images license

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about all types of love, but let’s get real: It’s for couples. At least, that’s what the candy, floral, restaurant, and card industries want you to think. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a holiday that celebrated the unique bond between women without romantic undertones? Good news — there is! It’s called Galentine’s Day, and you need to add it to your calendar immediately.

Is It Gal + Valentine’s Day? Sorta

Just because Galentine’s Day happens to be a portmanteau of gal and Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that it’s a replacement for the heart-centric holiday. It falls on February 13th, 24 whole hours before Cupid begins aiming his arrow.

And it’s not just for the single ladies out there — you can spend February 13th drinking champagne at the spa with your girlfriends and still smooch your special someone the day after. As long as you spend some time appreciating your friends, you’re a great Galentine.


Life Imitates Art (and TV)

Like all great things, Galentine’s Day came from a TV show. Fans of NBC’s Parks and Rec know that the one-and-only Leslie Knope originated Galentine’s Day in 2010. She described the holiday as “Ladies celebrating ladies” as she treated her female friends to a delicious brunch, personalized gifts and heartfelt toasts.

What About the Boys?

Just because the holiday calls out “gals” doesn’t mean men can’t spend time together. It can be a special day for male relationships as well (Malentine’s Day, maybe? Or Valenguys’ Day?). But if you’d prefer a gender-neutral friendship holiday, you can celebrate Palentine’s Day.

Make Your Galentine’s Day Plans

You don’t have to go full Knope on your next Galentine’s Day — no one is expecting handcrafted gifts and teary speeches. Galentine’s Day doesn’t have that same Valentine’s Day pressure. Just plan an activity for you and your friends to do together, such as:

  • going to a movie or concert

  • exchanging special gifts

  • eating a nice meal at your favorite restaurant

  • having a spa day

  • going horseback riding (or dirt bikes, if that’s your thing)

  • going on a friends’ camping trip (glamping anyone?)

  • getting coffee

If you’re far away from your friends or can’t meet up, show them you love them in other ways, such as a nice care package or a quick FaceTime call. Even a thoughtful text or funny meme can brighten someone’s Galentine’s Day!


Other Friend-Centric Holidays to Jot Down

February is International Friendship Month, so Galentine’s Day is the perfect time to focus on your best bud. But if you want more opportunities to celebrate them, add these holidays to your calendar:

  • Secret Pal Day (January 11) - surprise your friends with secret presents or notes

  • Make a Friend Day (Feb 11) - reach out to someone new

  • National Internet Friends Day (Feb 13) - celebrate virtual buddies (on the same day as Galentine’s Day!)

  • National Sleepover Day (May 9) - host a fun sleepover with your friends, no matter your age

  • National Best Friends Day (June 8) - spend some quality time with your BFF

  • Locate an Old Friend Day (Sept 18) - look up that friend you’ve lost touch with

  • Friendsgiving - attend a Thanksgiving dinner with your friends before (or instead of) your family celebration

  • National Call a Friend Day (Dec 28) - end the year with a considerate phone call to someone who brightens your day


What the World Needs Now Is Friends

If Galentine’s Day leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy, take a few moments to write your friend a nice text or note! Use these resources to get started: