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An alternative to Valentine's Day, "Galentine's Day" flourishes in the United States

"Galentine's Day", an alternative to Valentine's Day inspired by a TV series, has more and more followers among American women, who like to meet each other every year on the eve of the lovers' party.

A meal with friends, a cooking class, a party at home with pink balloons and glitter: these are all ways to celebrate "Galentine's Day". But it is also a way to highlight solidarity between women.

Everything started in 2010 from an episode of the series "Parks and Recreation", in which the heroine, Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, organizes a brunch at home on February 13 with her best friends.

It is for her to thumb a nose at the sacramentous Valentine's Day ("Valentine's Day" in English), with the idea that friendship is worth as much to be celebrated as love.

"Women grow up with this fantasy of great romantic love, and what being in love means," says Olivia Dillingham, a marketing consultant in New York. "It helps make them feel unworthy and incapable when they have no one to go to for Valentine's Day dinner."

So, the idea of "Parks and Recreation" has come a long way. What began as a nice provocation has gradually settled in some American circles, and the brands have understood it well.

We now find cards, glasses of wine, candles and cakes stamped "Galentine's Day". Bars and restaurants organize "happy hours" and dedicated parties. And garment shops are selling for the occasion.

In Washington, the St. Regis luxury hotel is offering an afternoon tea on 13th February with an exceptional sale of jewels.

"We made it a little fun, with lots of feminine colors," says Heather Dobson, pastry chef at the hotel, showing her sweet creations decorated with chocolate hearts and rose petals.

"A good excuse" 

Only one in two Americans plan to celebrate Valentine's Day 2019, according to the National Federation of Commerce, a 10% decline over the past decade.

While according to a study by the NPD Group, sales related to "Galentine's Day" should they grow by 20% over the next three years.

But for its followers, this new celebration goes beyond its mere superficial and commercial dimension.

"It started very lightly," says Riya Patel, a 22-year-old analyst based in Washington. But "it's not just about celebrating your friends, it's a day to think about those who matter in your life."

"It's really a matter of empowering women and helping one another," says Sara Phillips, a 37-year-old perfume designer.

At their Galentine's Day party at home last year, New Yorker Olivia Dillingham and her friends cast "spells" on them to find love, have flowers and exchanged compliments.

"It's so important to have support around you," says the 24-year-old. "And it's also a good excuse to meet up with girlfriends."

For Riya Patel, the particularity of "Galentine's Day" is to "celebrate the way we support each other".