We at Cooper’s love a good celebration of special relationships, and we also love a great back story. Galentine’s is both of those, so we are all about that! For more history, we turn to The Atlantic:
It started as a celebration of Leslie Knope’s ladyfriends. But the pseudo-holiday has caught on as a way to celebrate that most common and yet most unremarked-upon of things: female friendship.
It started as fiction. In a 2010 Parks and Recreation episode, Leslie, creative and crafty and bursting with kindness for the people she loves, invented a way to do something American culture hadn’t traditionally been too good at doing: celebrating, in an official capacity, the joys of female friendship. Leslie set Galentine’s Day as a festival that would fall, each year, on February 13: Valentine’s Day-eve. And she decided that the festivities—though the real point of it all is simply to celebrate the platonic love that exists among ladyfriends—should take the form of the thing that has brought women together for decades: a long and boozy brunch.
As Leslie explained it: “Every February 13, my ladyfriends 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.”
Galentine’s Day was, in its initial conception, the character of Leslie Knope, fictional woman, realized in micro-holiday form: insistently earnest, aggressively generous, finding deeply canny methods of ensuring that every social occasion will involve the consuming of waffles.
But Galentine’s Day soon became popular among real-life women, too. The festival, after all, filled a need. It found a market. Like Friendsgiving before it, which was similarly coddled in the crucible of the sitcom, Galentine’s Day acknowledged a broad truth about American life as it’s lived in the early 21st century: Friendships, increasingly, are playing an organizing role in society. Long conceived as side dishes to the main feast—marriage, kids, the nuclear family above all—friendships, more and more, are helping to define people’s sense of themselves in the world. During a time of emergent adulthood and geographic mobility, friendships are lending stability—and meaning—to people’s, and especially young people’s, lives. The deepest friendships are operating not to replace the family unit, certainly, but to complement it.
With Galentine’s Day, Leslie Knope, fan of waffles and Ben Wyatt and Ann Perkins (though definitely not in that order), took all that cultural context and distilled it down into a holiday that, like Friendsgiving and Slapsgiving and Festivus before it, resonated far beyond its fictional world.During a time of emergent adulthood and geographic mobility, friendships are helping to lend stability—and meaning—to people’s lives.
It caught on so well that, today, Galentine’s Day is a fairly standard celebration. No longer simply a micro-holiday, in the blink-and-you-miss-it manner of National Pizza Day or International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Leslie Knope’s lark is widely recognized and celebrated in places that are decidedly far from Pawnee, Indiana. Craft breweries have Galentine’s Day parties featuring crafts, beers, and—in a sweet hat-tip to the originator of the holiday—waffles. NPR offered a series of tips about how one might throw one’s own Galentine’s Day party. (The final piece of advice: “While eating waffles and drinking fizzy cocktails, celebrate the women in your life, Knope-style, by sharing with each one in attendance why you treasure her friendship.”)
Well, cheers to that! We wish you and your ladyfriends a lovely Galentine’s day and many more to come. We also would like to offer up some suggestions for the perfect gifts to celebrate your gals: