by Sarah Kelley ’18
From January to mid-February every year, we are reminded (whether we like it or not) that the season of love is upon us.
While many view Valentine’s Day as a romantic opportunity for couples to celebrate their love and relationship, most would agree it also forgets about the rest of the romantically uninvolved segment of society—leaving them alone to eat heart-shaped chocolates sent by relatives, scroll through Instagram posts of cute couples, reflect on their single relationship status, or utilize any of the countless coping mechanisms to simply get through this day of “love.”
From Valentine’s Day cards and chocolates filling the aisles of convenience stores, to restaurants promoting couple’s dinner deals, escaping this over-advertised, consumer-driven celebration of romantic love can often seem impossible, and for many singletons out there, even depressing.
But one recent holiday trend has revolutionized the season of love for women—single or taken—reminding us romantic relationships are not the only ones worth celebrating.
Galentine’s Day, the annual celebration of female friendship, began as a light-hearted, fictitious holiday created by the television character and star of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope.
On the 16th episode of Season 2, Knope explained the holiday in her own words, “What’s Galentine’s Day? It’s only the best day of the year! Every Feb. 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we come and kick it breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
But what began as a television celebration of gal pals has quickly turned into a genuinely observed holiday, gaining momentum and popularity.
Galentine’s Day has become not only a day to forget about one’s relationship status and the expectations of Valentine’s Day but more importantly has provided women everywhere with an opportunity to celebrate another important kind of relationship in their lives: female friendship.
Jenna Marsala ’18 commented on the impact of Galentine’s Day, describing how “It takes away from Valentine’s Day, especially for individuals who are not dating anyone, and instead focuses on the importance of female empowerment.”
Samantha Keating ’18 also commented, “Valentine’s Day is often taken very seriously, especially by its portrayals in the media. Galentine’s Day creates a more light-hearted, but still equally important holiday to celebrate female friendships.”
Taking the time to appreciate and celebrate the love and support of lady friends promotes positive female empowerment and reminds girls and women of all ages of the importance of embracing love for someone aside from just a significant other. Especially during a time of the year when romantic relationships are over-advertised across social media and television, Galentine’s Day provides a timely reminder that there are other, equally important relationships worth recognizing.
Combine the importance of celebrating female empowerment with the appeal of brunch, and there is no wonder why Galentine’s Day has and should continue to be a holiday of growing importance and meaning.
And within a larger societal context, the movement towards empowering women in all parts of society intensifies the significance of this growing holiday.
With social movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up championing the importance of uplifting women, and all individuals, giving a voice to the voiceless, and combating the social inequality and injustices have previously long been silenced and ignored. Galentine’s Day is one small but important example of the pressing need for women to recognize their own strength as individuals and the power of female friendship.