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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

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Happy (Gal)entine’s Day

Does this “fake” holiday have real importance?
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Isabella Young

All across the United States, gifts, candy, and acts are given to loved ones on February 14th. Feburary 14th, Saint Valentine’s Day, has been a holiday for hundreds of years. However, the true origin of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. February has long been celebrated as a month of love, and the Valentine’s Day we know now originated from both Christian and Roman traditions. If you go searching for the “real story” behind the holiday and its patron saint, you’ll find many conflicting tales.

However, the origin of Galentine’s day is much easier to find: it lies in season two, episode 16 of Parks & Rec. The 2010 episode, aptly named Galentine’s Day, sees the show’s lead Leslie Knope, played by actress Amy Poehler, gathering her girlfriends to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her at a local diner.

“What’s Galentine’s Day? It’s only the best time of the year!” Knope says. “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.”

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be single to celebrate Galentine’s Day. Nor do you have to celebrate it on the 13th. Any day you and your friends are available leading up to Valentine’s Day is a good day to celebrate. Galentine’s Day is meant to embody the spirit of Valentine’s Day by celebrating close (primarily) female friendships. It’s a time to shower your friends with all the mushiness and appreciation normally given to lovers.

Nowadays, it’s even more important to spend time with your friends, gals or not. Valentine’s Day is a notoriously lonely holiday for those without partners. Social media, such as TikTok and Instagram, is sure to be filled with couples posting cute pictures and appreciative messages. These traditions, as fun as they can be, can greatly intensify the feeling of loneliness for some who find themselves dissastisfied with their lives.

According to BetterHelp, the worlds largest therapy platform, approximately 15 million adults in America say that their mental health gets worse around Valentine’s Day, and 26% of Amercians say they feel negatively towards the holiday. 44% of Gen Z survey participants say that they feel negative around Valentine’s Day, with 33% of Millennials, 24% of Gen X, and 14% of Baby Boomers agreeing. In spite of that, approximately 10 million adults in America say that talking to a therapist helps them feel less anxious about Valentine’s Day.

Even outside Valentine’s Day, the National Library of Medicine shows that rates of teen depression have almost doubled in recent years, with 15.8% of adolescents in 2019 reporting symptoms of depression. The percentage significantly rose during the COVID-19 pandemic. ChildStats shows that 20% of american teens aged 12-17 experienced at least one Major Depressive Episode in 2021. Among these adolescents, females experienced MDE more than twice the amount males did, with 29% of females reporting MDE compared to 12% of males.

Most people, single or otherwise, could use a day to feel appreciated, so that’s where Galentine’s Day comes in! Galentine’s Day is a special day dedicated to showering your friends with affection, so it’s a pretty easy holiday to fall in (platonic) love with.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Young
Isabella Young, Opinion Co-Editor
"Shake it off"
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