Valentine’s Day. It’s well associated with flowers and chocolates, candlelit dinners, and cheesy rom-coms—after asking that special someone to be your Valentine, of course. But romantic love is not the only form of profound, all-consuming love one can experience in their lifetime. Love envelopes us in a multitude of ways, yet we focus so heavily on romantic love on February 14 each year.
Coined by the sitcom Parks and Recreation, the concept of “Galentine’s Day” is, as described by Cosmopolitan, “a sacred day of sisterhood.” Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler in the show, describes it as “…the best day of the year.” Every February 13, she gathers her female friends, leaving their husbands and boyfriends at home, to come “kick it breakfast style.” She proclaims that it’s simply a way for ladies to celebrate ladies.
Recently popularized by social media, Galentine’s Day-themed brunches and slumber parties have been all the rage this year. Inspired by the countless videos I saw on TikTok, I also began planning a Galentine’s Day party of my own. I took a trip to my local dollar store (which looked as though Cupid himself had thrown up all over it), and of course, bought heart-shaped balloons, heart-shaped plates, heart-shaped champagne flutes, and napkins which were—you guessed it—also heart-shaped.
As I stood there in that aisle of Dollarama, looking at the sea of red and pink that stood before me, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Being able to gather with my friends to celebrate the beautiful women and the love that we have for each other feels like an unparalleled privilege.
Although many argue that Valentine’s Day is merely a marketing tactic, that capitalism dictates a singular day for us to celebrate love, it’s so much more than that to me. Much like the Barbie movie allowed us to don our best pink outfits with ribbons in our hair, to me, Galentine’s Day is also a celebration of our femininity. It’s a celebration of the deep connections that come with female camaraderie. A feeling that’s beautifully unique from other relationships in our lives. Dressing up in cute pink outfits is just a bonus.
Though I cannot deny how special it is to have a significant other with whom to share chocolate and sugary sweet embraces on the annual day of love, there’s more than one way to be struck by Cupid’s arrow. Boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go, but it’s often the women in our lives who mend our broken hearts. It’s our gals who are our shoulders to cry on. The people who just get us without having to say a single word. Friendships that make us feel held and nurtured. The feeling of knowing that you could say anything at all and be heard. Our relationships with our mothers, sisters, and friends are equally (and sometimes more) important and binding than any romantic relationship.
These unconditional, wholehearted relationships ought to be celebrated—even the one you have with yourself. It could be as simple as getting yourself flowers or baking your favourite treat, making sure to add heart-shaped sprinkles just to be festive. After all, it’s hard to pour from an empty cup.
So, gather your closest friends, eat all the chocolate chip cookies that your heart desires, and bask in the unparalleled security and comfort that emanates from female friendship. Try your hand at making heart-shaped pizzas from scratch. Put on the Titanic movie for good measure (bring tissues if you’re an easy crier like I am). And remember that although messages of celebrating romantic love often dominate the narrative during this time of year, we can, and certainly should, celebrate all forms of love on Valentine’s Day.