You may not be aware of Sweetest Day, as this is a holiday that is celebrated mainly in mid-western US and in some areas of north-eastern US. Celebrated on the third Saturday in October, this year the celebration was last weekend on October 19.
Cynics have often denounced this particular holiday as a ‘Hallmark’ holiday ‒ despite not being invented by the card manufacturer ‒ or a ‘promotion’ from the candy companies that simply want sales to increase.
Many people take the opportunity provided by this day to give romantic gifts to loved ones. If you are living in or moving to Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska or other states in this region, you are sure to hear all about this day.
The first time that Sweetest Day was celebrated was in 1921 in Cleveland. It was put together by candy manufacturers, who gave away more than 20,000 boxes of candy to orphans, the poor and the elderly. The day picked up the support of some popular movie stars of the time, which helped to give it more publicity. The following year it was decided to try for a candy day in New York, and for a decade or more there were strong attempts to get the day noted as a major national celebration day such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.
In 1940 the event was held on October 19 and again saw the distribution of thousands of free boxes of candy, which were given to charities and churches to hand out the less fortunate.
How do people celebrate Sweetest Day? Obviously candy plays a huge role in the day, with many people giving family and friends boxes of candy, as well as cards and flowers. Many of the candy boxes designed for the day are heart-shaped, making the celebration reminiscent of Valentine’s Day. Pink and red are the colors that tend to dominate the celebrations and many of the cards designed for the day have romantic themes; therefore, you may have to hunt pretty hard for a card that is designed to give to friends or family members other than your partner.
Despite being in existence for nearly 100 years, Sweetest Day has yet to catch on nationally, with many people shying away from the commercial connections of the day; however, it should be remembered that the original Sweetest Day involved giving away candy to the poor and needy and was far removed from the commercialization of today.
Sweetest Day is still a popular celebration day in cities such as Detroit and Cleveland and it has even caught on in parts of New York. If you want to celebrate the day without feeling as though you are buying into the commercialization of it, why not make your own cards and candies to hand out? It is not the money that you spend that is important but the gesture of giving a small gift to somebody that you care about.
– Lance Grooms