Love is in the air this week — platonic love. Galentine’s Day, an alternative to Valentine’s Day usually celebrated on Feb. 13 is dedicated to recognizing female friendship.
Galentine’s Day first came to popular culture in 2010 through a "Parks and Recreation" episode in which Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, takes her best female friends out to dinner. Now, people around the world acknowledge this special day.
Senior and Director of Logistics of Carolina Women in Economics Laura Hill said their club was hosting a celebratory dinner at Tru Wednesday evening.
“We’re all big 'Parks and Rec' fans, so we remember the whole Galentine’s Day episode and decided to market the dinner as a Galentine’s Day event,” Hill said.
While this is the Women in Economics club's first Galentine’s Day celebration, Hill has gotten together with her friends in previous years.
“We typically just go to dinner or bake cookies — something really simple,” Hill said. “Just being together is the most important part.”
UNC students are organizing their own Galentine’s Day festivities. First-year student Katie Billings said that she celebrated because she believes love is more than something shared with just one person.
“I think it’s a really fun time to celebrate the love that you have for your best friends and the girls that you’re with all the time,” Billings said. “Yeah, Valentine’s Day is about love, but love is beyond just a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I have a lot of love for my best girl friends, as well.”
Billings and her suite-mates ate chocolate fondue and watched “Letters to Juliet.” Another first-year student, Marie Cox-McMahon plans to join in with her suitemates by baking Valentine’s-themed cookies and watching a “sappy rom-com.”
Cox-McMahon said the holiday has become widely celebrated because not many college students have significant others.
“One reason I think it’s definitely popular is just because people don’t like Valentine’s Day if they’re single,” Cox-McMahon said. “In college, I think most of us are single, and so Valentine’s Day is just kind of rubbing our lack of a partner in our face. Galentine’s Day can just be a way to flip the script and have some fun.”
Cox-McMahon also said that she typically celebrates Galentine’s Day in addition to Valentine’s Day and does not see the need for them to be in competition with one another.
“I think Galentine’s Day is really good excuse to celebrate the amazing women that we have as friends around us and to show them extra love that they need,” Cox-McMahon said.
Junior Mia Cole, who transferred to UNC-Asheville last year, wrote a blog about suggestions for ways to celebrate Galentine’s Day.
The list included a DIY nail bar and spa, movie night, wine tasting, brunch and a trip to Build-A-Bear. Cole said it’s important to not get wrapped in the high-pressure holiday of Valentine’s Day and relive childhood with some of your best friends.
“Galentine’s Day is a good alternative for women, so they can put the pressure of having a significant other to the side and live in the moment by appreciating and celebrating their girl friends,” Cole said. “It’s almost like a feminist move saying girls are important and you don’t need to have a man to be happy.”
Hill said the holiday is all about building each other up even during a time that can be stressful for everyone.
“Our club is all about female relationships, whether that be in the workforce or at school, and creating a really supportive environment for one another," Hill said. "I think Galentine’s Day really matches well with what our organization stands for, which is celebrating each other and our successes.”
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