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Celebrating friendships and their health benefits on 'Galentine's Day'

'Galentine's Day' is an unofficial holiday made famous by character Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation. It's typically celebrated the day before Valentine's Day.

Whether you love it or dread it, the holiday that celebrates love is almost here. For the Ebenezer Scrooges of Valentine's Day, though, there's another unofficial holiday happening today that you can celebrate.

"Galentine's Day" was first made popular by the hit T.V. show Parks and Recreation. In a 2010 episode, character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) gathers for brunch with a group of girlfriends. 

"February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is about romance," Knope explains to the camera in the episode. "But February 13th, Galentine’s Day, is about celebrating lady friends. It’s wonderful, and it should be a national holiday."

Although it's not a holiday officially marked in a calendar, Knope would probably be happy with how the phrase has taken hold since that episode aired. Now, some women choose to celebrate other women and female friendships the day before the Valentine's Day, leaving boyfriends, husbands, or significant others at home.

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As it turns out, there's reason to celebrate, too. 2019 data from the Mayo Clinic indicates that good friendships can be good for your health. Adults with strong social support showed reduced risks of significant health problems, like depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy BMI. Studies also showed that adults with richer social lives were likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

That being said, the quality of friendships is more important than the quantity. While it's important to have a diverse network of friends and acquaintances, it's key to nurture truly close friendships, since those are likely the ones that will carry people through tough times. 

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There are a number of Galentine's Day events happening around Maine on Thursday, February 13. Bangor Wine and Cheese Company on Hammond Street is hosting its "Galentine's Day Wine Tasting" for the second year.

"The tribute to the fact that every day can be a day that you love someone else – and in addition, as I said, love yourself – is a great thing to celebrate," said Eric Mihan, owner of Bangor Wine and Cheese Company. "If you’re not necessarily in a relationship, I think it’s a wonderful thing that’s sprouted up – support among friends. And that’s why we do it – every day is a day to show that."

Other Galentine's Day events happening in our state include:

Thursday, February 13

Bae My Galentine, 4-7 p.m., Cellardoor Winery at The Point in Portland

Galentine's Chocolate Strawberry Cupcake Workshop, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Vista of Martha Vineyard and Cidery Tasting Room in Greene

Galentine's Day Bash, 5-7 p.m., Blush Bridal and Formal in Bangor

Galentine's Day DIY Centerpiece Workshop, 6-8 p.m., Gooeygump Designs in Portland

Galentine's Day Wine and Chocolate Pairing, 4-9 p.m., Elements: Books Coffee Beer in Biddeford

Galentine's Night, 5:30-8:15 p.m., The Daily Sweat in Kennebunk

Friday, February 14

Galentine's Day Party, 5-7 p.m. at eighteen twenty wines in Portland

Saturday, February 15

Galentine's Day Sip and Shop, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Daisy Jane's in York

Galentine's Day Spa, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Mantra Maine Massage and Yoga Studio in Manchester

Sunday, February 16

Galentine's Drag Queen Brunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Tipo Restaurant in Portland

Thursday, February 20

USM Women in Leadership "Galentine's Day", 7-9 a.m., Glickman Family Library in Portland

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