The incomparable Leslie Knope is many things—mentor, boss, public servant, wife, crafter, feminist, over-achiever, committee chairwoman, unfailing optimist, colleague, author, politician and, above all, friend. It's the latter that inspired Knope to create a holiday devoted to female friendship and waffles, but mostly female friendship: Galentine's Day.
In season 2, episode 16, Knope introduced and explained the holiday: “Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13, 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.”
In true Leslie Knope fashion, she organizes breakfast for more than a half-dozen female friends including her mother and colleagues, providing each of her guests with a bouquet of hand-crocheted flower pens, a mosaic portrait made from the crushed bottles of their favorite diet soda and a personalized 5,000-word essay of why they're awesome. In a subsequent Galentine's Day that takes place in Season 4, Episode 14, Leslie provides each of her galentines with gift certificates for a facial, a needlepoint pillow with their face on it and a news headline from a newspaper on the day of their birth.
That's not to suggest that the only way to celebrate Galentine's Day is to devote all your free time to crafting portrait mosaics and bouquets of crocheted flower pens. Leslie's superhuman supply of energy, enthusiasm, organization and crafting time are all a vital part of her charm, as noted by The Atlantic in Galentine's Day: How a Beloved Fiction Became a Beloved Tradition, but these are not traits we all hold in common.
“Galentine's Day was, in its initial conception, the character of Leslie Knope, fictional woman, realized in micro-holiday form: insistently earnest, aggressively generous, finding deeply canny methods of ensuring that every social occasion will involve the consuming of waffles,” the article explains. “…Like Friendsgiving before it, which was similarly coddled in the crucible of the sitcom, Galentine's Day acknowledged a broad truth about American life as it's lived in the early 21st century: Friendships, increasingly, are playing an organizing role in society. Long conceived as side dishes to the main feast—marriage, kids, the nuclear family above all—friendships, more and more, are helping to define people's sense of themselves in the world.”
So, what do you actually need to celebrate your very own Galentine's Day? All you really need—and Leslie Knope would definitely back us up on this—is waffles and friends. This is, after all, a holiday invented by the woman who once famously said, “We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third.” One Parks and Recreation fan was so inspired by Leslie's love of waffles that they attempted to calculate how many waffles Leslie ate per year based on a conversation she has with JJ's Diner owner JJ Lipscomb. The conclusion? Leslie Knope eats between 228 and 343 waffles at JJ's Diner every year.
An NPR article titled Galentine's Day: Celebrating Women, Waffles And OK, More Waffles encourages getting creative with your waffle toppings this Galentine's Day, while acknowledging that waffles with whipped cream will always reign supreme in Leslie Knope's heart. Here are some of NPR's tips about what to eat (or not) during your Galentine's Day celebration:
- Mimosas are a must.
- Salad is a must-not, as Leslie made clear in the quote, “I stand behind my decision to avoid salad, and other disgusting things, and I think I have a lot of support in the community for that.”
- It's unorthodox, but consider going savory. “There's no shortage of weird and wonderful waffle recipes to be found around the world, if you're looking for inspiration beyond the traditional Belgian variety,” the NPR article states. “In Thailand, there's the waffle hot dog, served with mayo and ketchup … Hong Kong's egg waffles, a popular street food cooked over a charcoal stove, in flavors from green tea to ube, even got a nod from the Michelin guide in 2015.”
Bustle's “What Is Galentine's Day? Leslie Knope's Favorite Holiday Is Something We Should All Celebrate” has some additional ideas for ways to celebrate female friendship including throwing a Parks and Recreation viewing party, taking a trip with your favorite gal pals and finding a volunteering opportunity that supports other women in your community. If you're short on resources such as time, money, waffle batter and inspiration, a thoughtful compliment for the women in your life can still have a powerful impact and Leslie Knope would heartily approve given her creative and frequent use of compliments to communicate her affection for BFF Ann Perkins.
It's been nine years since Pawnee's most devoted public servant introduced the world to Galentine's Day and, given the number of social media mentions and Galentine's Day-themed promotions and sales each year, it's safe to say that the idea has taken off.
“Galentine's Day is, then, engaging in that most subversive of political activities: It is normalizing itself,” The Atlantic concluded. “The festival is part of the culture at this point, not nearly so widespread as its namesake holiday, but there—distributed, diffuse, and so, so pink—nonetheless … Most of all, though [Galentine's Day] insisted that women are awesome, and that a good way of acknowledging that might be to meet up with one's fellow women and remind them of that fact.”
Galentine's Day Compliments for the Ann Perkins in Your Life
You are a poetic and noble land-mermaid.
You are an opalescent tree shark.
You are a perfect sunflower.
You are a rainbow infused space unicorn.
You are a beautiful rule-breaking moth.
You are a beautiful, naïve, sophisticated newborn baby.
He'll never lasso another heifer as fine as you, Annie Oakley.
You're a tricky minx!
You're a beautiful spinster.
You are a beautiful tropical fish--smart as a whip, and cool under pressure.
You are such are the most beautiful, glowing sun goddess ever.
You are a beautiful, sassy mannequin come to life.
Oh Ann, you're so sweet and innocent and pretty.
Ann, you a good friend, you're beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox. Thank you, ox.
Ann, you cunning, pliable, chestnut-haired sunfish.
Nobody can fill your shoes, Ann, with those little tiny doll feet.
Ann, you're a genius! Your brain is almost as perfect as your face.
I've said this to you before and I know it makes you uncomfortable, but you're thoughtful, and you're brilliant, and your ambiguous ethnic blend perfectly represents the dream of the American Melting pot.
Ann is my doctor and she's the most beautiful nurse in the world.
Shut your mouth. You have all the strengths.
Ann, you beautiful, sassy, mannequin come to life.