Galentine’s Day meaning: When is it and why you should celebrate friends this Valentine’s Day

Forget Valentine's - Happy Galentine's Day! (Matheus Ferrero / Unsplash)
Forget Valentine's - Happy Galentine's Day! (Matheus Ferrero / Unsplash)

Valentine's Day may be cute and all, but Galentine's Day is much more fun as it's all about celebrating the inspirational women in your life.

It doesn't matter if you're single or in a relationship, there's never been a better time to spread the love among your gal pals.

While you may not have heard of Galentine's Day, if you're a woman, chances are you've participated in it anyway. Because, if you have ever sent a card or flowers to a female friend around Valentine's Day, you've sent a Galentine. Put simply, Galentine's is Valentine's — for ‘gals’.

Because, while romantic partners come and go, everyone knows that friendships are forever.

Where did Galentine's Day come from?

Galentine's Day originated from the States in 2010, specifically, comedy sitcom Parks and Recreation. During Episode 16, Series 2, “Galentine's Day” was where leading character Leslie Knope brought together a group of lady friends to celebrate... ladies.

Dubbed “only the best day of the year”, Knope (played by actress Amy Poehler) explained that Galentine's Day was the day where “my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast style”.

When is Galentine's Day?

Knope celebrated it on February 13 (ie the day before Valentine's Day), but it is not so strictly marked here in the UK. Any gathering of women to celebrate women around Valentine's Day, therefore, can be considered a Galentine's celebration.

How do I celebrate Galentine's Day?

It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, there’s never been a better time to spread the love among your gal pals. (Becca Tapert / Unsplash)
It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, there’s never been a better time to spread the love among your gal pals. (Becca Tapert / Unsplash)

Send flowers... that aren't roses

Research conducted by online florist Bloom & Wild into buying patterns around Valentine's Day revealed there is a high percentage of female-to-female gifting this time of year - circa 35-40 per cent in 2015.

“Everyone thinks of Valentine's Day as a time where men buy flowers for their female significant others,” said Bloom & Wild founder Aron Gelbard.

“But, actually, we found that there was a high participation in the Valentine's market of female-to-female buyers. Often, that's not women buying flowers for another woman they're in a relationship with, but somebody that they want to express some sort of care for.

“We [found] that Valentine's Day can be a time that is quite lonely,” he continued, “in particular, for women not in relationships. That [might be] because they’re elderly and their partners aren’t around any more, or because they’re single. It’s actually a time where a lot of women in particular tend to be very thoughtful and use the occasion to buy flowers for women who might not be receiving them from a significant other.”

Bloom & Wild's research also uncovered that unlike men - who typically opt for traditional red roses - women will send “softer” bouquets, like pink roses and alstroemerias, costing typically between £25 and £30.

Get together for a girls night in... or out

It might have been coined in recent years, but Galentine's Day as a concept has been around for a while. What proves this? Its depictions on the small and silver screens.

In 1995, there was that episode of Friends, The One With The Candy Hearts, where Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe get together on Valentine's Day to burn mementoes of past lovers. (They end up causing a house fire.)

And let's not forget that scene in Sex And The City: The Movie (2008), where Carrie and Miranda go out for dinner on February 14, and end up having a colossal row in a restaurant...

Thankfully, real-life Galentine's gatherings tend to be happier affairs.

Lucy, 30, from London, says they're “the best”, recalling a particular year where “two girlfriends and I drank prosecco and sloe gin whilst watching Bridget Jones, eating whole pizzas to ourselves - bliss.”

Give cards (not anonymously)

This is possibly the most common manifestation of the trend. Many women will send cards to their female friends as a way of reinforcing their friendship, while posting heartfelt messages to female family members is popular, too.

Fitness blogger Poppy Cross, 30, from London, says, “I don't send cards to my friends who aren't in relationships because I think they probably want to forget it's Valentine's Day... I do, however, send them to my sisters and mother because it’s a sweet way to tell them they’re the ones I care about the most.”

Bloom & Wild's research also suggested that typically women “reveal” themselves in messages, to let the recipient know who is thinking of them.

“It's not so much an anonymous gesture,” says Gelbard, “it’s a thoughtful gesture.”