The Sweetest Day holiday has its origins in 1922, when an Ohio man by the name of Herbert Birch Kingston wanted to spread joy to the neglected, orphans, and others with similar fates. As a candy business employee, Kingston and others in the Cleveland area began to give treats to the orphans and the poor. When actress Ann Pennington was in Cleveland, she celebrated Sweetest Day by giving out candy to more than two thousand newspaper boys as a sign of gratitude for their work. And Theda Bara gave away thousands of boxes containing chocolates to hospitals in the area, as well as to those who saw her movie.
Sweetest Day is celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes area of the United States – such as Ohio and Michigan – but it has slowly moved on to other parts of the country as well.
Is Sweetest Day a real holiday?
Sweetest Day has been referred to – and probably cynically so – as a “Hallmark Holiday”. Along with the commercialization of other holidays, it could be argued that the underlying raison d’tre of Sweetest Day appears to be money. Of course, Hallmark doesn’t help the matter any through the admission on its own website that it was the first company to offer Sweetest Day greeting cards back in the 60s. This means that Hallmark did not actually initiate the holiday – we can fall back on the Mr. Kingston story for the actual creation.
It might be said, however, that a) Hallmark is guilty of taking advantage of a local event and marketing it to the masses in order to make money, or b) Hallmark merely responded to the natural demand for Sweetest Day greeting cards and therefore provided a valuable service. But assuming that a) is true, can you blame Hallmark (or any related company for that matter)? In a business whose revenues are linked to the popularity of numerous underlying occasions, the marketing of Sweetest Day is actually a pretty good idea for making money when you think about it. After it starts to become more and more popular, other businesses are going to join in on the new cultural awareness of the occasion.Thus, a “holiday” is born into American culture, perhaps out of a celebratory mood to celebrate goodwill, perhaps out of corporate interests, or perhaps because of both.
When is Sweetest Day?
For 2016, Sweetest Day is celebrated on October 15.
Sources for Sweetest Day holiday information discussed here include the following:
- What’s sweet about Sweetest Day? (October 16, 2003)… See at http://www.uwsp.edu/stuorg/pointer/2003/10/16/sweetest.html. Last visited January 22, 2005.
- Holiday Insights : Sweetest Day. See at http://www.holidayinsights.com/other/sweetest.htm. Last visited January 22, 2005.
- Cleveland Women, Sweetest Day. See at http://www.clevelandwomen.com/house/sweetestday.htm. Last visited January 22, 2005.