What is Galentine's Day? Everything to know about the popular Feb. 13 holiday

Galentine's Day cards are displayed at a Target store in Falls Church, Virginia, on Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo credit: SUSAN STUMME/AFP via Getty Images)

Many people have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. Some believe the holiday is just a marketing tactic spread by greeting card companies or is only for people who are romantically involved.

Cue the solution to those worries: Galentine’s Day. 

But what is this unofficial holiday, who can celebrate the occasion, and when is it? Gather your gal pals, and find out the details below.

What is Galentine’s Day?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Galentine’s Day is a "day for women to celebrate their friendships with their lady friends." Essentially, the meaning of Galentine’s Day is Valentine’s Day for your gals. (It’s right there in the name). 

With the last couple of years dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to celebrate community is more amplified than ever.

In fact, search #GalentinesDay on social media platforms, and you’ll find over half a million posts of women celebrating other women in honor of the holiday.

Galentine’s Day is most popular in Washington D.C., followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and California, according to National Today.

How did Galentine’s Day start?

Surprisingly, you can thank actress Amy Poehler for starting this tradition. 

We’re not kidding, either. 

The word "galentine" was first introduced to the world during a Feb. 2010 episode of "Parks and Recreation."

In the hit comedy, Leslie Knope — the fictional deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department — discussed the holiday.

"What's Galentine's Day? Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, 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," she said in the episode.


Amy Poehler attends the Paley Center For Media's 2019 PaleyFest LA "Parks And Recreation" 10th Anniversary Reunion held at the Dolby Theater on March 21, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/Getty Images)

According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode "Galentine’s Day" garnered nearly 5 million viewers, marking it as an improvement for ratings in the series.

"After that 2010 debut, the word was mentioned in episodes that aired in 2012 and 2014, and by 2016 evidence of the word’s appeal was starting to show up in national and international publications, as people everywhere embraced the very idea of a holiday for celebrating friendships," Merriam Webster continued.

What day is Galentine’s Day?

While many are quick to shower their significant others with gifts and treats on February 14 — the day prior or the 13th of the month — is designated to celebrate the important friendships in one’s life.

Galentine’s Day is celebrated on Feb. 13 each year, and this year, it lands on a Monday.

While Galentine’s Day is not an official holiday, research from National Today shows searches for Galentine’s Day have increased 400% (with Missouri ranking No. 1 in looking it up, followed by Virginia, Louisiana, Colorado and Arizona) since 2015.

RELATED: 27% of consumers in relationships expect Valentine's Day spending may cause them to rack up credit card debt

Who can celebrate Galentine’s Day?

Traditionally, Galentine’s Day is celebrated with the girls in someone’s life — whether it’s a sister, mother, or friend. 

While "galentine" gives off the impression that only females can celebrate, that doesn’t need to be the case. 

Many have accepted the holiday as a day to hang out with best friends — regardless of gender. A Galentine’s Day celebration can include all genders and all of those that you adore...as long as they enjoy a tasty brunch or dinner!

How to celebrate Galentine’s Day

So, what should you do on Galentine’s Day?

Major retailers including Walmart and Target stock up on Galentine's Day merchandise, and some people purchase gifts or cards for their "galentines." 

Where sales for Valentine’s Day specifically are trending downwards, Hallmark found that nearly 2 out of 3 women who were purchasing cards around Valentine’s Day were doing so for non-romantic relationships, including friends and family. This prompted the brand to release a line of Galentine’s Day cards and others celebrating platonic relationships.

RELATED: A nugget of love: Chick-fil-A brings back Valentine’s Day trays

Activity-wise, brunch is the most traditional event on Galentine’s Day, due to the "Parks and Recreation" episode. Find a fun brunch or dinner spot for you and your gal-pals, or make a meal at home.

Each year, more and more people are getting creative and choosing other activities to do with their friends.

Some people choose to have movie nights, sleepovers, spa trips, go ice skating, or host cooking lessons. Really, no activity is off-limits. 

The only rule of thumb is that you spend your Galentine's Day celebrating your friends: no significant others allowed.

Editor's note: A version of this article was originally published on Feb. 10, 2022.