To put it simply, every October 15, Sweetest Day is a day to be sweet by sharing a kind thought, a small gift, or a gesture of kindness. It’s a day to give a card with a sweet message to someone you appreciate. Of course, little gifts of candy and other sweets are also shared. Sweetest Day is always observed on the third Saturday of October, meaning this year will be celebrated on October 15
History of Sweetest Day
Sweetest Day hails from 1922, when a dozen of Cleveland’s candy companies banded together to make the Day a little sweeter for some of the city’s most vulnerable people. They distributed more than 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor.”
The idea caught on with movie celebrities during the early days of the talkies. Starlets like Theda Bara, known as a “bad girl” of film, were often seen distributing candy to people attending movies or plays and giving treats to patients in hospitals.
Eventually, the idea of Sweetest Day as a vehicle for promoting smiles and good vibes took solid root in the country’s midsection. Areas like Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio fused the meaning of the Day with good, old-fashioned mid-western values like honesty and caring for your neighbors.
Sweetest Day is now almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Folks give flowers, small gifts, and love trinkets and candy to those they care about most. But Sweetest Day also emphasizes helping those in need with material assistance and giving moral support to those who may not have the most accessible lives. Every little bit helps, and it’s something to remember on one of our Sweetest Days.
Sweetest Day Timeline
Valentine’s Day Gets Real
Hallmark starts offering Valentine’s Cards, leading to an average expenditure of $140 by most Americans.
Cleveland’s Candy Day
A committee of 12 confectioners in Cleveland stages the world’s first Sweetest Day by distributing 20,000 boxes of candy.
Sweetest Day Tries To Go National
Efforts to spread the Sweetest Day phenomenon beyond the Midwest meet a lukewarm reception
Sweetest Day Tries for the Week
Efforts by the candy industry to kickstart “sweetest week” also fell flat by the candy industry, but it’s sweet that they tried.
Sweetest Day Traditions
The main tradition on Sweetest Day is to show someone that you care about them with an act of kindness. Usually, this could be getting them a gift such as candy or flowers, but it could also be something that costs nothing, such as leaving a nice note. Most people, however, associate the holiday with candy and choose to buy a special someone a candy offering of some sort.
Sweetest Day the Numbers
80% – The percentage of Sweetest Day cards that are romantically inclined.
1921 – The year of the first unofficial Sweetest Day
11 – The number of states that celebrate the holiday is mainly observed in the midwest.
1 – Ohio is the number one celebrator of Sweetest Day
Sweetest Day FAQs
What does Sweetest Day mean?
The Sweetest Day refers to a day of showing affection with little gifts of candy or acts of kindness to those you care about or anyone who could use a little support. This Day primarily impacts Americans in the regions of the Great Lakes.
Is Sweetest Day for men or women?
If you live in the Midwest, you know that Sweetest Day is synonymous with Boyfriend Day. Sweetest Day is mainly a day for women to treat their close male friends, husbands, or boyfriends with gifts of candy and other sweet gestures.
Is Sweetest Day an actual holiday?
No. But it is faithfully observed primarily in the Midwest and, increasingly, throughout other parts of the country. The Day was started by a candy company employee in Cleveland in 1922.
Sweetest Day Activities
- Make a list of all your sweeties
- If you’re going to get the most out of Sweetest Day, it’s probably best to write a list of people you feel sweet towards. Rather than restricting yourself to a significant other, think about all the people you want to celebrate today. Who knows, maybe you can even use the Day to make amends with a jerk coworker or two!? We’re big fans of spreading the sweetness as far and wide as possible.
- Distribute some candy
- Ideally, you’re looking to give your candy in sweet presentations such as in heart-shaped boxes or with ribbons and bows attached. Remember that the objects of your sweet affections will be bowled over if you make a little extra effort, and since you’re doing this, let’s go big or go home, huh?
- Do something nice
- Hey, you don’t just have to give candy, baked goods, and cards. Maybe you could take somebody out for the Day or tell them you love them. You can do plenty of things to make the Day sweet without relying mainly on sugar. But don’t forget the sugar. We’re clear on that. SUGAR!
Why We Love the Sweetest Day
- It’s about whatever you want
- The great thing about a holiday that’s essentially a confection of its own is that you can make it about whatever you want. The idea is to share some sweets and let the good vibes flow!
- It’s an opportunity to celebrate being midwestern
- The midwest has some harsh winters and can often play second fiddle to their coastal neighbors on either side. So it is excellent that the midwest has something so pure and sweet to call its own. It warms the heart, and a good thing, too, as winter is just around the corner.
- Valentine’s Day is just once a year
- What is the best thing about Sweetest Day? Unlike Valentine’s Day, there’s no pressure. So if there’s someone you’re sweet on, you can let them know with some candy! There’s no need to cook dinner or take them out in the evening — just a little candy does the trick. Plus, you can spread a little cheer to coworkers, family members, or whoever you wish.