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Alternative holidays for love

While total spending on romantic love for Valentine’s Day in the U.S. is expected to reach a record $14.2 billion this year, there are some alternative holidays that have been created that celebrate different kinds of love that business journalists can also look to for story inspiration.

Galentine’s Day

First introduced in a Parks and Recreation episode in 2010, Galentine’s Day was created as a nod to female friendships. This day is all about sisterhood and – as a New York Times article noted – increasingly about commercialization as corporations take notice of the trend.

Although officially celebrated on February 13 (today!), festivities can be found on any of the days leading up to and around Valentine’s Day. Plenty of businesses – from bars, restaurants, fitness studios, to paint and sip shops – have hopped on the bandwagon and found a way to make extra money off this Valentine’s Day alternative. Since the holiday is still new and fresh, there aren’t really any customs or rules around how to celebrate, so anything is free game.

Check out the plethora of merchandise on Etsy and Amazon specific to the holiday or scroll through one of the many lists that suggest Galentine’s Day gifts for your besties.

White Day

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated a little bit differently than in the U.S. as it is women who are expected to be the primary gift-giver to the men in their life – and not just romantic partners. While in the U.S. candy, cards, jewelry and flowers are very common Valentine’s gifts, the only real gift in Japan is chocolate. Different kinds of chocolates symbolize different kinds of relationships.

In the early 1980s, The National Confectioners Industry Association in Japan began marketing “White Day” on March 14 – exactly one month after Valentine’s Day – as an “answer day” where men reciprocate chocolate giving to the women in their life. A common “rule” is that White Day gifts should amount to at least twice the amount of chocolate received on Valentine’s Day. You can guess who benefits the most from this “rule.”


  • Julianne Culey

    Julianne is the Assistant Director of the Reynolds Center with expertise in marketing and communications and holds a master's in Sociology from Arizona State University.

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