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Valentine’s or GALentine’s?

How do you plan to celebrate this month’s holidays? We asked around.

Gabe Lawyer and Maria Pedro—and others—share their thoughts on the holidays.
by Mickey Brandt
Photography by Mickey Brandt

Valentine’s Day, as we all know, is a day when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts. It has been suggested that the holiday has origins in antiquity, specifically the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February.

The name may have come from Saint Valentine, a third century Roman commemorated in western Christianity on February 14.

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day has grown into one of the largest commercial holidays, with some people everywhere looking for the perfect

card, perfect restaurant, or perfect candy and flowers for that special someone. Others celebrate quietly and romantically with just a few words or a touch or reminiscence. Moms and other women are given gifts.

Galentine’s Day is like Valentine’s Day, but for the gals. It’s usually designated as February 13 and is about celebrating best friends, sisters, moms, and others. Fittingly, the holiday was invented by the fictional character Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) on the sitcom Parks and Recreation.

During the second season of the show in 2010, Poehler’s character described it this way: “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it… ladies celebrating ladies.”

Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA has taken the idea of Galentine’s Day in offering an event in Vineland tomorrow, February 15.

“It’s sort of a holiday,” said Christine Ward Garrison, YMCA Development & Communications coordinator, when asked about the event, which was sold out already by last week. “To get 40 people out, it’s pretty good. It will be just a great time.

“We wanted to offer something where women can celebrate as friends,” she added. “There will be a paint project, games, and snacks.”

Our task last week was to roam the region and ask for opinions on these two holidays. Here’s what we found:

Gianna Naphys, Vineland

Valentine’s Day is my daughter Olivia’s birthday, so I experience it a bit more (Olivia will be six.) I think Galentine’s Day is a cute idea for women who want to maybe get a drink and celebrate together and not have to follow traditional standards and not have to be beholden. It’s self-love.

Bernie Merritt, Vineland

Valentine’s Day is a good thing, it’s a love thing—there’s not enough love in the world. People can say it’s too commercial, but if it is or not, it’s still about love. Galentine’s Day? No, I don’t give a darn about that.

Gabe Lawyer

Valentine’s is a hit or miss kind of thing. If you have someone, it’s fire and if you don’t, it’s mid.

Galentine’s Day, I’ve never heard of.

Maria Pedro, Vineland

Galentine’s is more for a friendship get-together, Valentine’s is with your partner. I do both.

Michelle Snell, Millville

I’ve always worked on Valentine’s Day. I’m focused on work, so for me, it’s a holiday for other people. It’s too commercialized, people getting each other useless stuff. Really, who needs another teddy bear?

When I worked in a grocery store, the shelves [once full of Valentine’s merchandise] were bone bare. I was dumbfounded that people would buy all of it. Then, these guys roamed the store in a panic at the last minute looking for anything that could pass as a gift—they would freak out, they had to go home with something.

Ryan Williams, Jr., Bridgeton

It’s love and peace, it means caring for others. Just a day to spread some love.

Rodrigo Gonzalez, Bridgeton

It’s a chance to recognize your loved ones, you give a gift to show an act of kindness. To moms, too, to show the love. For Galentine’s, I think a group of people going out is fine—showing each other love.

Jessica Sullivan, Estell Manor

I celebrate with my husband and daughter, we have dinner, that’s about it. I always get my daughter a nice gift, maybe candy.

Juliy Marie (with Skylar), Woodland, Utah

It doesn’t matter to me one or the other, Valentine’s or Galentine’s.Valentine’s only benefits roses and I don’t need an excuse to get together with my women friends.

Amander Alward, Elmer

I like Valentine’s Day better because I don’t know what the other one is.

Ken Evans, Buena

I guess [Galentine’s Day] empowers women who don’t have a partner yet, but I think it’s kind of taking away the meaning of love.

Carol, Ocean City

God, we need a day dedicated to that? One day out of the year, it’s not enough. I do like to send Valentine’s to my grandkids. When I was very young, I liked getting those little hearts.

For Galentine’s Day, I think it started on the Parks and Recreation TV show.

Karen Heinz, Collingswood

I’ve been happily married to the same guy for 25 years, so Valentine’s doesn’t mean that much. Day comes and goes—there are plenty of holidays—I don’t pay much attention. It’s celebrating our anniversaries that is much more meaningful.

Ariana Tucker, Sicklerville

Valentine’s Day is a time to do things with my friends and sister. She and I give each other gag gifts—things each would hate. You know, now that you mention Galentine’s Day, our Valentine’s Day turns into that.

My parents have always given me a Valentine’s card or gift every year, even after I wasn’t at home anymore.

Carolyn Zinn, Vineland

I can take it or leave it. Maybe in grade school when we gave each other all those little cards.

Luke and Lizzie

We caught up with Luke and Lizzie playing ping pong in the Rowan College Recreation Center.

Luke: I never heard of Galentine’s Day. Lizzie, have you heard of it?

Lizzie H: Sure. It’s a day when women get together to socialize, have drinks, have fun.

Luke: Oh, well, then that’s cool. Valentine’s Day is fun, too, it’s a great day to spend with your special person.

[Galentine’s Day] is a nice alternative, I personally haven’t celebrated it, but I’d like to go.

Rebecca DeJesus
Rebecca DeJesus, Vineland, shown here Valentine’s shopping with her twins, Alex and Alina, age two-and-a-half.
Rebecca DeJesus, Vineland, shown here Valentine’s shopping with her twins, Alex and Alina, age two-and-a-half.

Love your kids, show you love them, love your kids forever.