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Galentine's Day is everywhere. Where did this trend start?

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2024 - 11:57am
Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2024 - 3:48pm

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While Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, Feb. 13 is Galentine's Day.

This year Galentine’s Day seems to be everywhere. The Show spoke more about the trend and where it began with Amanda Kehrberg. She studies digital culture as a Ph.D. student at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Sign that says Galentine
Getty Images

Interview highlights

AMANDA KEHRBERG: Yeah. It's one of those things that has just embedded itself in popular culture, and it actually goes back to the Feb. 11, 2010, episode of "Parks and Rec" where Leslie Nope, Amy Poehler's character, is introducing Galentine's Day. It's this wonderful day where, you know, women celebrate women. They go out to brunch. They have a great time.

[CLIP FROM "PARKS AND REC": What's Galentine's Day? Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every Feb. 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands our her 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.]

KEHRBERG: And what's so funny about that too is that Feb. 11, 2010, is also the date that the "Anna Howard Shaw Day" episode of "30 Rock" aired, where Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon, is trying to get everyone to celebrate Anna Howard Shaw, because I think it was her birthday. And so she's a famous suffragette, instead of Valentine's Day.

GILGER: So it was the two of them. You had Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both sort of trying to undermine Valentine's Day that year.

KEHRBERG: Exactly. I love that that happened simultaneously same day. Because you've got Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, right? They came up together in 1990s in the improv scene in Chicago and then moved on to "SNL" together, became the first all women weekend update team. Like, they just brought this kind of culture of women's camaraderie and friendship and celebrating that both to their comedy content, and I think to their career choices, too. And so I love that it just coincided 2010 as the year when they were just like, "Nope, we are undercutting Valentine's Day this year."

GILGER: So, 2010, Galentine's Day has only existed since 2010. But it's really like, I had no idea this is where it was from. It's really jumped the shark since then. We have Galentine's Day almost as its own established holiday at this point.

KEHRBERG: Absolutely. Yeah. No, I agree. I mean, it's so funny, because I think last year I saw the articles popping up of like, "OK, how to prepare for Galentine's Day. You know, what kind of a photo backdrop should you do? What kind of hors d'oeuvres should you serve? What kind of little gifts should you put together?" And this year so much more, too. I mean, just TikTok feed is 100% people prepping their Galentine's Day parties. So, yeah, it has become its own established thing for sure.

GILGER: That's interesting. So, I mean, this was also like the year of the girl, right? Like the year of [Taylor] Swift, this pop culture year in which women were really celebrating.

Woman talking into microphone
Amber Victoria Singer/KJZZ
Amanda Kehrberg in the KJZZ studio.

KEHRBERG: Yeah, absolutely. I think it capitalizes on that so well. And even in terms of like thinking about holidays and commercialism, what's so fun about Galentine's Day, particularly — following on the year of the girl — is that it's kind of a thrifting holiday, like it's a holiday thrifting another holiday. So it's, I mean, its entire style is Valentine's Day colors, Valentine's Day themes. Valentine's Day symbols. So you can just reuse all your Valentine's Day stuff. But this year in particular, you could wear what you wore to the Taylor Swift concert wear, what you wore with your girls to see "Barbie." Like reuse all ... if you have it, put it on the wall again, put it on the tables again. It's perfect for Galentine's Day.

GILGER: What do you think this says about women right now, right? Like there is sort of this movement of women deciding, like: I'm not going to date. I'm gonna be single and I'm gonna be happy about that. Which is pretty unheard of, I would say.

KEHRBERG: Yeah. No, it's really interesting. There is so much more discourse about taking time for celibacy, just taking time to be what they call "boy sober."

GILGER: That's the phrase, right?

KEHRBERG: Yeah, it's so funny. I love the whole thing about, you know, we're in this era now where pets are the new kids, plants are the new pets. And I think maybe sourdough yeast is the new plants? But it's just, yeah, it's just a way, I mean, and I say that because I can't keep my sourdough yeast alive either. So I'm on trend there. But I think it is a kind of celebration of, you know, women prioritizing things that aren't just purely romantic relationships and also culture, learning to celebrate that, too.

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