Galentine’s Day: Faux Feb. 13 holiday celebrates genuine female friendships

A half-heard conversation often sparks confusion, and in some cases, panic — so when WTOP anchor Joan Jones buzzed out of the studio to remind editor Teddy Gelman what today was, it caught me off guard.

“That’s tomorrow,” I yelled across the newsroom, quickly glancing at the date to make sure I didn’t forget to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my wife and kids.

Duh, my younger, more current co-workers informed me — Feb. 13 is Galentine’s Day.

What started in 2010 in an episode of the sitcom Parks and Recreation has become a genuine, although unofficial, celebration of female friendships.

“The lead character [Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler] throws a Galentine’s Day celebration, because she’s single,” digital writer Will Vitka kindly explained to me. “After that Parks and Rec episode aired, it took on a life of it’s own and was embraced quite readily by the female community.”

Like Digital Editor (and millennial) Jennifer Ortiz: “A friend of mine is actually having a few girls over, we’re having mimosas, and we’re doing little party favors and just gonna play games and stuff.”

Jennifer was sympathetic to my not knowing the significance of Feb. 13, but had noticed “how surprised and shocked” I seemed at the possibility I had missed Valentine’s Day.

“I mean, it’s not really an official holiday, anyway,” she volunteered, to help me rationalize my cluelessness. “It’s just a day to get together with your girlfriends, so I’m not surprised that you haven’t heard of it.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only person out of the Galentine’s Day loop.

“I actually didn’t even know it was a thing,” acknowledged Producer Andrea Cambron. “I’ve been married for 10 years.”

The fact that Galentine’s Day won’t appear on printed or even digital calendars doesn’t mean Galentine’s Day isn’t a valid annual reminder of female friendships, said Traffic Anchor Reada Kessler.

“There’s lots of not-real holidays, nowadays,” Reada said. “Who needs an excuse to get together, but it’s a good one.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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