How Galentine’s Day went from fiction to tradition

Kayla Whitworth, Feature Co-Editor

People love holidays. People especially love holidays celebrating the things they love such as food, gifts, and the people in their lives. That’s why we have so many holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that emphasize the importance of celebrating the things you love, and even more unofficial holidays like “Friendsgiving” that share the same mantra. Valentine’s Day is the day devoted to celebrating our beloved significant others, but data from The Washington Post shows that 51% of Americans ages 18-34 are currently single. So when you’re single on couples day, what do you do and who do you celebrate with? Strangely enough, the answer lies in a satirical sitcom.

Parks and Recreation, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Shur, is a show centered around the shenanigans of the employees of the Indiana Parks and Recreation Department, starring Amy Poehler as the main character, Leslie Knope. Within the show, Knope, who wishes to show her love for her friends, declares Feb. 13 as “Galentine’s Day.” While originally being only a fictional holiday, the pseudo-holiday quickly picked up popularity and in the last decade since its creation has amassed an entire retail market geared at those who would rather celebrate the non-romantic special people in their lives. 

This year, Hallmark will offer 16 Galentine’s Day cards and Party City will offer over 50. Eventbrite, an event management company, has reported over 1,300 Galentine’s events on their website, and the day has been promoted by companies such as Lindt Chocolate and Disney Style by using the #GalentinesDay tag, which was also used on over 40,000 Instagram posts in 2019. The holiday has gathered so much popularity, in fact, that the generated revenue has actually boosted the average amount of spending by consumers, according to “Bloomberg”, and according to research by the “National Retail Federation”, the average amount of money people spend on only friends has doubled since 2017.

While there has been an undeniable increase in market-driven interest in the holiday, the reason why the majority of people are interested in Galentine’s Day is because, in the words of Leslie Knope, they are simply “ladies celebrating ladies” (or guys celebrating guys, or really just friends celebrating friends). So, how should you celebrate Galentine’s Day? Ultimately, it’s up to you. Whether you choose to celebrate your friendships on Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day, whether you choose to buy one of many Galentine’s themed gifts, go out for a special celebration, or choose to simply spend time with those you’re closest with, just remember to make the holiday an enjoyable one for you and the ones you 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. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”- Leslie Knope