The origin of Sweetest Day
If you live outside the New England or Great Lake States, you probably don’t know that there is a second holiday in the year when love is celebrated. It was established in these regions in the 1920’s and has remained a strong tradition ever since.
Sweetest Day, as it’s called, was created to recognize the sweetie or sweetest person in one’s life, almost always a romantic partner. One day a year wasn’t enough to show appreciation for how much joy our sweethearts bring to our lives, so a second one was established in Cleveland, Ohio as the third Saturday in October in 1922. As a day for sweethearts to reaffirm their love for each other, flowers, candy, and other loving gestures are exchanged on the day every year.
In the early years, some saw Sweetest Day not as a legitimate holiday but a marketing ploy to get people to buy more candy because it was established by a committee of twelve confectioners led by candy-maker, C.C. Hartzell. On the first Sweetest Day, the Sweetest Day in the Year Committee handed out over 20,000 boxes of candy with the help of some of the biggest movie stars of the day. Soon afterward, the National Confectioners Association launched a campaign to gain nationwide acceptance for Sweetest Day and to see it ranked in similar importance alongside Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. This was followed by even more giveaways of tens of thousands of boxes of candy in cities like Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh.
Today, Hallmark and American Greetings produce greeting card designs specifically for Sweetest Day that are sold only in the regions where it’s celebrated. Detroit and Cleveland are still known as the biggest Sweetest Day cities. Most people don’t remember Sweetest Day’s advertising roots, and so it’s celebrated as another Valentine’s Day.
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