Sweetest Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of October, as lovers share special sentiments and small gifts. It falls behind Valentine’s Day, but is still ranked high in the candy and greeting card industry. Not yet a universal or even a nationally recognized holiday, Sweetest Day continues to grow each year. There seems to be a holiday or reason for gifts almost every other week anymore and retailers jump on the opportunities for more sales. Is Sweetest Day a real holiday or just another made-up sales gimmick?
Started in the early 1920s, the original thought behind the special day was to remember people less fortunate with small gifts of kindness. The idea came from Herbert Birch Kingston, an employee of the C.C. Hartzell candy company in Cleveland, Ohio. He also was a philanthropist and wanted to give back to the community by giving small tokens of candy to orphans, shut-ins and others down on their luck. The holiday gradually evolved into a day for those lucky in love.
Sweetest Day grew from Ohio and has spread through the mid-west little by little as years have gone by. Racks of greeting cards, large and small, gushy and funny, poetic and thought provoking, hold prominence next to the birthday cards in most grocery stores and card shops. Candy and flower sales have also enjoyed a nice increase in profits from the special day.
Lovers are not required when it comes to kindness. A neighbor, a long, lost friend or a special cousin is always deserving of a small act of kindness. In our world of strife and chaos, spreading love and cheer is good for the soul. A sense of well being and satisfaction provides a healing aura with the utterance of simple words of remembrance and appreciation. The body has a built-in natural system of goodness that is released through endorphins. Caring for and loving others is a healthy, easy way to enhance your mood. Sacrificial hearts can overshadow the lonely hearts with random acts of kindness.
While the commercialism of Sweetest Day is good for businesses, feelings of love and kindness do not have to wait for the day on the calendar. There is always a reason to share and care for one another. Even if the created holiday has become a gimmick for card and candy sales, the purpose behind it can still serve as a reminder of what life should be.
The benefits of love and kindness can only be good, but sadly have become lost in the shuffle of everyday life. Dionne Warwick said it best with her hit song, decades ago, What The World Needs Now Is Love. Countless love songs have flooded the air-waves into our hearts and minds. The message has always been there with or without Valentine’s Day or Sweetest Day. Everyday is a reason to love, share and care for one another. Be it a lover, friend or stranger, it is good for your health to be kind and loving. Your sweet heart will live longer by spreading a little joy.
Written by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon