GAL-entine’s…PAL-entine’s…(not Valentine’s), you get it? This subversive off-calendar holiday, referred to by mass media as Galentine’s Day after Amy Poehler’s beloved Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope, is a day for self love, friendship love, family love and any other kind of love outside the bounds of the traditionally celebrated romantic kind. Canonically speaking, in Parks and Rec, this celebration is scheduled for Feb. 13, though many celebrate these sentiments on V-day too. The term “Palentine’s” rose in popularity as a more gender-neutral term for people of all genders to celebrate all the platonic love in their lives.
Where did the day come from?
If you’re not familiar with the exact episode in which the Galentine’s Day and Palentine’s Day trend started, it’s ready to watch on Netflix, and title of the episode is also Galentine’s Day (episode 16 of season 2.)
Leslie Knope brings her girlfriends together for brunch and gifts each of them a bag with a bouquet of hand-crocheted flower pens, a mosaic portrait of each of them made from the crushed bottles of their favourite diet soda and a personalized 5,000 word essay of why they’re all so awesome.
“Oh, it’s only the best day of the year,” she says in the episode. “Every February 13, 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.”
Who is Galentine’s and Palentine’s Day for?
Despite the gendered nature of the term “Galentine’s,” it’s not just for women. Cosmopolitan says, “Despite its name, anyone and everyone can celebrate Galentine’s Day. At its gooey heart, Galentine’s Day is a celebration of friendship and the people who stick by your side as romantic relationships come and go.”
Those who prefer a gender-inclusive alternative may refer to the celebration as “Palentine’s Day” or “pal’s day.”
Here’s how 8 Toronto pals are celebrating platonic and self love this year
Connie, 23, artist
Connie is planning to dye their hair strawberry blonde on Sunday, and will be listening to songs with their name in the title all weekend long, as well as Mitski’s new album. “It’s kind of nice to hear someone say your name, especially in a song. As if those songs were written for me. I guess that’s how I’m celebrating self love this year.”
Paige, 18, student
“I am going to celebrate love on Feb. 14. It will be a day of self love and just a simple recognition of what the day is here for. I plan to dye my hair a fun red colour on Sunday and then read a romance book and potentially a rom-com on the day of! I love Valentine’s Day even without having the traditional plans of going out on a date.”
Liora, 21, student
“My friend and I decided to save our holiday gifts for V-day this year to conserve and spread our spending, and also because we’re pals and single! It’s a surprise, but I’m taking him to get his ears pierced. I really don’t like Valentine’s Day and all the capitalist profit that retailers chase, so this way it feels like we’re giving each other gifts on Feb. 14, but the spending isn’t associated with vday (#vdayloophole).”
Emily, 24, documentary film photographer
“I had never celebrated the day before because in all honesty my ex partner always hated [Valentine’s Day] and I’d have to beg him to acknowledge it. Last year during the hardest parts of that breakup I drank far too many white claws and vomited whilst on Zoom with my best friends. My ex was in his room as we still lived together at the time. I will remember that day well because for the first time in a while, I felt really alone. But I still went out and chose love after that – and I think I will always choose love. My friends who [helped comfort me through my break up] even when it was over Zoom: I celebrate them every day. And this year I’m trying to do the same with myself.”
Débora Diniz, member of Your Own Magic Facebook group
For Débora, Feb. 14 is about celebrating any form of love. As a spiritual person, she never cared much about traditional Valentine’s day celebrations due to the mass consumerism. “My expectations were and are always low,” she says. “However, I still have a nice meal with my partner to celebrate our love. And when I was single I used to just give myself extra love on the day (in the form of flowers or something).”
Twoey, 26, screenwriter
“I am asexual and aromantic so V-day has never been my jam. P-day is life!” Twoey’s plans to celebrate are a surprise for her and her friends. “My FF (Forever Friend) has a dinner planned for me and a couple others. We are dressing in our finery and will be hinting at surprises for each other.”
Emma, 25, floral artist
“On February 14 I’ll be celebrating love by delivering flowers across Toronto. What used to be a very hard day for me has now become one of the most fulfilling because I really cherish acts of love, and giving flowers is such a special way to express that. Flowers are mostly taken for granted but there is so much thought that goes behind them. My boyfriend helps me out on my busy days. This way we get to spend time together despite both of our hectic schedules. It’s important for me to practice self love together and alone. My version of self love on Galentine’s Day will be a nice shower, skin care routine, going to sleep early and watching trash TV.”
Emma, 23, author
“Growing up my mom always made sure that Valentine’s Day felt very special to my sister and I. She would sneak into our bedrooms while we slept the night before and lay out a brand new outfit for each of us, often adorned by hearts or some sort of glitter. I would wake up giddy, put on my V-day outfit, and run to the kitchen to find a box of chocolates and a handmade card. Then I’d leave for school believing that something truly magical might happen (I am and have always been a hopeless romantic). In the years since, I’ve spent Valentine’s Day making every effort to ensure my romantic partner feels this special, which I love doing. But this year I’ll make sure to spend a little extra time with myself on Feb. 13 too, because I love a ritual and self love should have it’s own. Maybe I’ll buy a new outfit to lay out for myself.”
Ways to celebrate Palentine’s Day
Keep it canon!
On TikTok, the hash tag #galentinesday depicts scenes that look a lot like the original Galentine’s day modeled by Leslie Knope: friends showering each other with gifts and good food.
@kaitlynbeattyy Choose your fighter💘🤍🍸🍓🍫 #cocktailnight🍹 #galentinesday #vday ♬ ultimate vibes – morgan hardy//
Have a self-directed photoshoot or a photoshoot with friends
@indianaboes @teddiehart @cassiediamonddd @caroline_tuckerrr @emberjohnsonn @kathleenhixson @bella_serrano #galentinesday #valentinesday #valentinesphotoshoot ♬ L O V E – Michael Bublé
Commission professional portraits to capture images of your loved ones
@embattaglini on Instagram is a talented documentary film photographer in Toronto who is accepting commissions.
Allot self care time
@aasian every friday, i do a ✨self care day✨ #selfcareroutine #selfcaretiktok #manicureroutine #selflove ♬ original sound – djlex
Make a nice meal
@themoodyfoody dinner for two 💕 #foodtok #yummy #easyrecipes #pasta #dinnerdate #blackgirlluxury ♬ original sound – TC
Purchase a floral arrangement as a special gift for yourself or loved ones
Emma of @succulent.slut666 in Toronto is selling miracle romance arrangements to be delivered on Feb. 14. You can email email@example.com for ordering information.