Happy Galentine’s Day! What is it and why you should make the girls your Valentines

It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship: celebrate Galentine's Day in style (The Berkeley)
It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship: celebrate Galentine's Day in style (The Berkeley)

Historically, Valentine's Day has been a kind of whatever day for those who are single or, quite frankly, just couldn't care less.

But Valentine's Day doesn't have to just be about romantic love and, if Beyoncé's recent hits have proved anything, it's that 2023 is all about girl power.

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 woman 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 when 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?

Get flowers for the key women in your life – but not roses (Becca Tapert/Unsplash)
Get flowers for the key women in your life – but not roses (Becca Tapert/Unsplash)

a) Send flowers … that aren't roses

Recent 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 about 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.

b) 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 an episode of Friends, The One with the Candy Hearts, where Rachel, Monica and Phoebe get together on Valentine's Day to burn momentoes 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 while watching Bridget Jones, eating whole pizzas to ourselves – bliss."

c) Giving 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."

Galentine's things to do in London

Gift your Galentine an experience at Sense Spa in Rosewood London in Midtown.

252 High Holborn, WC1V, 020 7781 8888; rosewoodhotels.com

Go out for a girls’ night in at The Berkeley, aka take a suite with a girlfriend and get spoiled rotten.

The Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X, 020 7235 6000; the-berkeley.co.uk

Get creative at the Pottery Café – with studios on both sides of the river, ladies, there's no excuse.

153 Northcote Road, SW11, 020 7223 3388 and 735 Fulham Road, SW6, 020 7736 2157; pottery-cafe.com

Follow Edwina on Twitter @edwinalangley