The misunderstood holiday of Sweetest Day


There’s an age-old adage of “Christmas in July,” but what about Valentine’s Day in October?

Although it’s not exactly the same, Sweetest Day falls on the third Saturday of each October and is, for the most part, an underappreciated and misunderstood holiday.

“If I’m not mistaken,” said Oakland University sophomore Anna Roberts, “Sweetest Day is the male version of Valentine’s Day. The woman takes the man out and shows how much she loves him.”

OU transfer student Laura Pappas had a different take on Sweetest Day, saying, “It’s a day dedicated to who you call your sweetie.”

While both understandings of Sweetest Day are completely reasonable, Roberts and Pappas are actually wrong, according to the Hallmark Corporation.

Hallmark says that Sweetest Day originated in 1922 when Ohio candy factory worker Herbert Birch Kingston decided that there needed to be a day spent in recognition of those members of society who are often forgotten: orphans, the sick and the poor.

Kingston and fellow coworkers came together to put his plan into action and spent the day giving out candy, treats and small gifts to people in need — just to show that they cared.

In the 1930s, movie stars began to get in on the action, giving out candy and treats to newspaper boys in the Cleveland area and distributing candy in Cleveland hospitals, according to Hallmark.

Interestingly enough, Hallmark also says that Sweetest Day is predominantly celebrated in the Midwest, due to its founding father being from Ohio.

As the years passed, the tradition of Sweetest Day has evolved from a day of community charity to a day of appreciation for loved ones, celebrated similarly to Valentine’s Day with the giving of chocolates, flowers and cards.

Last year, Pappas said she was at a homecoming game for Sweetest Day and celebrated her father’s birthday the same weekend, while Roberts said that in the past she had gone out for dinner with a group of friends to celebrate.

Traditions vary, depending on one’s understanding of this Valentine’s Day lookalike, but one thing is certain: there are never too many opportunities to show loved ones how much they mean to you.

“I hope (Sweetest Day) becomes more popular … and that it doesn’t turn into another Valentine’s Day,” Roberts said.

So this Oct. 18, consider taking a moment to do a random act of kindness for a stranger or remind loved ones just how much you care.