Illustration by Shenuka Corea
Galentine's Day: a thing I didn’t know existed until last year when I was in New York and saw it advertised in stores as I walked down the streets. Galentine’s Day is dedicated to all the female friendships in one’s life. It’s celebrated on the 13th of February so that you have plenty of time to spend with your gal pals before spending Valentine’s Day with your other half. The concept was initially introduced in a Parks and Recreation episode in 2010. Then, fiction became reality when women all over the world started to celebrate their friendships on this day.
From a quick scan of TV and movie culture over the years, we can see a shift from a family orientated representation to a society that has been putting more emphasis on friendships. But why female friendships specifically? Perhaps, as a society, we have started to recognize female friendship as important but there isn’t enough recognition yet, especially in comparison to male friendships, which have been coined as bromances.
However, just because there is a day for it doesn't mean that everyone is going to want to celebrate it. A number of commonly accepted special days celebrate all kinds of love: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Sibling’s Day, Children's Day, Valentines Day and Galentine's Day. Do we really need these days as reminders that we should celebrate these different important people in our life? Most will probably say no.
"I have never been one for celebrating taking off days of my year to celebrate something specifically. Galentine’s Day is cool as a response to Valentine’s Day. I think it’s nice for people to do. I think it's important for people to celebrate friendships all throughout the year. Let this day be a reminder for you to do that for the rest of the year," said Sangeetha Mahadevan, Class of 2018.
"I think it's a very stupid idea. Just like I think Father’s Day and Mother’s Day and all those random hallmark gift card days are stupid. I love and appreciate [my female friends]. [I] don't need a special occasion," said Vishwanath Chandrasekar, Class of 2018.
Sue-Ann Lau, Class of 2018, echoed Mahadevan's sentiments, but also added that the idea that we need such as days is sad.
So what do these days really mean? Is it sad that we have come to a point where we forget to remember and treasure the wonderful people we have around us? Or have we given into a consumerist culture where we buy into most things that are advertised for us? A brief Google search for Galentine's Day results in more suggestions for what to buy for Galentine's Day rather than articles discussing what this day actually is. The idea is simply to spend time with your friends rather than stressing about what you should buy for them.
"It’s a manifesto of capitalist consumerism replacing love with an object. It’s a waste of time," said Maya Adams, Class of 2018.
"I honestly think it’s useless. I think it’s another way to make money. It's only useful if I have a flower shop or profit from it. Giving a gift isn’t a must; friendship can be celebrated any other day," said Mulindi Cynthia, Class of 2018.
Regardless of if you want to celebrate Galentine’s Day, maybe take this week or Feb. 13 to think about the people in your life that are important to you and think of ways to celebrate your love for them, either on the 13th or the 14th or for the rest of the year.
Thirangie Jayatilake is Features Editor. Email her at [email protected]