Happy Galentine’s Day! Here’s what that means — and ways to celebrate in Boston this year

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation."
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation."Episodic

It’s Thursday, Feb. 13. So, Happy Galentine’s Day!

For those who still might not be familiar with the unofficial holiday, the concept is pretty simple: Celebrating female friendships the day before the world becomes clogged with lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day.

The notion has exploded in popularity in recent years, thanks to “Parks and Recreation,” where Amy Poehler’s exuberant character, Leslie Knope, dreamed up the day so she could shower her female friends and family members with love — as well as hand-knit presents and 5,000-word essays on what makes them special.

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year,” Knope’s character says in a 2010 episode of the show. “Every February 13th, 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.”

The gal-pal day has gained steam since then, being reprised on the show, and even leading the Associated Press to send out planning reminders beforehand.


Even Dictionary.com was jumping on the trend, tweeting out a “slang dictionary” definition of the “holiday.”

The counter-celebration to Valentine’s Day is increasingly on the rise, with consumers in general spending money on their friends in addition to their sweethearts. Spending on friends will increase to almost $15 this year, more than double the level in 2017, according to Bloomberg News, which cited a National Retail Federation survey.

People “want to celebrate everyone they care about and not just their significant other,” said Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights at the NRF, according to Bloomberg.

And where there’s a celebration, there’s also a way for retailers to try and make money: Hallmark is offering more than a dozen Galentine’s Day cards, according to Bloomberg News. A search for “Galentine” on Amazon brings up more than 4,000 results, while a search for the same term on Etsy shows more than 21,000 items. Publications like Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping have also compiled lists on the perfect gift for your galentine.


“People who don’t want to be alone on the holiday are looking for ways to gather and be around others,” said Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends specialist at digital-coupon provider RetailMeNot, told Bloomberg. “In most cases that means spending money.”

If you’re planning to observe the “holiday” with the Shakira to your JLo, here’s a look at what’s going on in the Boston area.

Galentine’s Day at Lamplighter

Lamplighter Brewing Co. in Cambridge invites women to “celebrate great friendships (and waffles)” from Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen as the brewery plays “Parks and Recreation” on a projector. Attendees can also make valentines “for maximum gal pal appreciation.” Pro tip: More than 700 people are “interested” on Facebook — last year, more than 3,000 people showed their interest — so if you’re hoping to attend, maybe plan to arrive early.

More info here.

Galentine’s Day Party at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is teaming up with The Food Lens to “throw a party for ladies to celebrate the ladies in their lives,” an event posting says. The soiree includes standout rosés produced by female vintners, Galentine’s Day themed cocktails, pastries, cheese, and a raw bar, among other goodies. Tickets are $55 and include food, two specialty cocktails, the wine tasting, and a $10 donation to Women’s Lunch Place, a daytime shelter on Newbury Street.


More info here.

BYOBoard Charcuterie Class at Night Shift Brewing

If you’re hoping to make some Insta-worthy charcuterie boards, this event has got you covered. A $35 ticket to the event at the Night Shift location in Everett covers beer, tips and tricks from Mary Charcuterie, and supplies needed to build your board. Attendees should bring their own board — although for $3 extra, you can also buy a disposable one on-site.

More info here.

Galentine’s Day at ONCE Somerville

ONCE Lounge in Somerville is hosting a free, 21+ event with locally-owned vendors selling jewelry, clothing, candles, treats, “sexy things,” and self-care items. There will also be food, dancing, tarot readers, a photobooth, and local craft brew tastings.

More info here.

Galentine’s Day at Brideside Boston

No, you don’t have to be single to celebrate Galentine’s Day. For those thinking about sartorial romance, the newly-opened bridal store on Newbury Street will host a celebration with champagne, sweets from Silver Whisk Bakery, music, palm readings, and a photo booth. There will also be dry styling and braiding services from SalonCapri, and mini makeovers.

More info here.

Wire material from Bloomberg News was used in this report.


Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss