Valentine’s Day, the holiday of romance and chocolate that has the population split between loving it or hating it, is typically celebrated with a significant other. However Valentine’s Day is not only about romantic love. For many, the holiday has become a time to celebrate everyone they love in their life, specifically friends.
The concept of “Galentine’s Day” started as a joke on the show Parks and Recreation. In season two episode sixteen, one of the characters, Leslie, takes a group of women out to a restaurant and gives them all gifts along with a five thousand word essay about why they are all special. Viewers adopted it, popularizing a new tradition of Galentine’s Day.
Though it may have started as a joke, it certainly is not one anymore; people go all out. From making your own chocolate covered strawberries to creating gourmet heart-shaped pizzas, the up and coming holiday has proven to be fun for many women— both single and taken.
It may seem stereotypical for a bunch of girls to sit in a room decorated with pink hearts and bake different desserts found via Pinterest, but fun is fun.
“For me, Galentine’s is a day to go full commercial Hallmark cliche. Plenty of heart decorations, anything pink and red and plenty of chocolate,” said sophomore Lelia Giampe. On social media, especially TikTok, people have been selling out all things pink at Walmart, such as balloons and streamers. Those in warmer climates have been hosting picnics to share with their friends, and many use the time with their friends to bake different desserts, the most popular being heart-shaped cakes. Many of the snacks enjoyed are macarons, strawberries and various types of pastries. Other parties of people simply take the time to hang out and talk to one another.
Because the point of Galentine’s Day is for girls to appreciate their female friends, the question of whether some are excluded arises.
“I think Galentine’s is mainly just a girls thing. I just found out that “Palentine’s” also exists, so I think Galentine’s is able to retain its exclusivity,” says Giampe. While some may choose to keep the celebration of Galentine’s Day strictly for girls, everyone is welcome to celebrate Palentine’s. Much like “friendsgiving” or “friendsmas,” the holiday, more than anything, is a time to celebrate the people you love platonically who may not necessarily have someone to celebrate with otherwise.
“I think that platonic female friendships are some of the most important relationships you can have in your life,” says Giampe. “It’s always so important to nurture those relationships, especially since they’re so easy to be overlooked.”
Female friendships are essential to the development of strong women. As Dolly Alderton says in her book, Everything I Know About Love, “Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from my long-term friendships with women.” Women are often criticized and put under a microscope for everything they do. From hobbies to simply the way they act, everything is subject to public opinion. When a woman enjoys learning the depths of fashion and makeup, she is seen as overly girly which equates to the view that she is unintelligent. When a woman enjoys things like math or sports, she often faces criticism for trying too hard to not be girly, or being a ‘pick me.’” A “pick me” girl is a girl who is seen as obnoxious from rejecting anything feminine. Even the censure of astrology is rooted heavily in the patriarchal structure of society and media today. People make fun of women who believe in the zodiac calendar and take interest in things like compatibility, but rarely do men get criticized for their stereotypical obsessions with Fantasy Football or video games.
“My friends are some of the best people I know,” says sophomore Aubrey Zvovushe-Ramos. “Because I relate to them a lot, it makes it easy for me to have an outlet to go to when I need someone to talk to. I definitely feel like they need to be appreciated and now is as good of a time as any.”
Female friendships allow women to have safe spaces in today’s atmosphere of judgment and misogyny. As humans it is natural for us to pick up on certain traits and habits of those around us. So when women are constantly being judged by those who surround them, a group of people who do not judge one another and, in fact relate in many ways, allow each other to grow so much more confident in themselves. If a woman is surrounded by other confident women, it benefits all of those in the group due to the fact that they influence each other.
“I spent Galentine’s with one of the most important female figures in my life, my sister Isabella,” said sophomore Gabriella Assignon. “We put on our favorite music and ate dumplings together while making good conversation. Then we made chocolate covered strawberries. I valued the moments that we spent together and I appreciated that she went out of her way to do something special for me.”
Though Galentine’s Day is relatively new to the list of traditions we participate in, many have quickly come to love it. Friendships, while especially important to women, are something to be celebrated by everyone. It does not necessarily mean you have to have a party or that you must be a girl, appreciating those who get us through life, those who we mimic so much out of pure admiration, those who continuously make us laugh and see the beauty in life, is something that everyone can and should be a part of.