The Sweetest Day October 19th
An American Tradition
– The Sweetest Day observance originally started in the Midwest US in the 1920’s.
The Sweetest Day…
is always the third Saturday in October.
This holiday is much more important in some regions than in others (Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo being the biggest Sweetest Day cities). It is a holiday that has been gaining in popularity every year throughout the country.
What It Is …
- Sweetest Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in October as a day to make someone happy. It is an occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged, and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed.
- Sweetest Day is not based on any single group’s religious sentiment or on a family relationship. It is a reminder that a thoughtful word or deed enriches life and gives it meaning.
- Because for many people remembering takes the form of gift-giving, Sweetest Day offers us the opportunity to show others that we care, in a tangible way.
How it all began…
One version tells that over 60 years ago, a Cleveland man, believing that the city’s orphans and shut-ins too often felt forgotten and neglected, conceived the idea of showing them that they were remembered. He did this through the distribution of small gifts. With the help of his friends and neighbors, he distributed these small remembrances on a Saturday in October.
The first Sweetest Day was pronounced as October 8, 1921 in Cleveland. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s October 8, 1922 edition, which chronicles the first Sweetest Day in Cleveland, states that the first Sweetest Day was planned by a committee of 12 confectioners chaired by they candymaker C. C. Hartzell. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor” in Cleveland, Ohio. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee was assisted in the distribution of candy by some of the biggest movie stars of the day including Theda Bara and Ann Pennington.
Of the twelve Cleveland committeemen who planned Cleveland’s Sweetest Day , eleven directly profited from the sale of greeting cards or candy. Three were on the Board of Directors for Hallmark, four on the boards of various candy companies and four owned card and candy shops in the Cleveland area.
The photo of the 12 Candymakers who “Arranged the Details of The Sweetest Day in the Year and Planned Its Success.” The Candymakers’ names are (from left to right) C.R. Canter, A.E. Barton, R.T. Fuller, J.J. Wilsdon, R.H. Sheehan, W.A. Katzenmeyer, A.A. Sarouch, Louis Hahn, W.J. Nichols, C.C. Hartzell (chairman of the “Sweetest Day in the Year Committee”), L. Narwold, and L.E. Gruber.
The caption at the top of the page reads: “Eat Candy as a Portion of Your Daily Meal and Enjoy the Best of Health.” The sub-headline below the caption reads: “Cleveland Committeemen Who Arranged the Details of the Sweetest Day of the Year and Planned Its Success.” Under the photos of the Founders of Sweetest Day is an article written by The Commissioner of Health from New York City, Royal S. Copeland M.D. (later U.S. Senator from New York). The article is entitled “Eat Candy As Part Of Meal And Be Happy.” Below the headline is a caption which reads: “Love of Sweets is an Inborn Instinct, and Craving Should be Satisfied, Since Nature Expresses Her Bodily Needs Through Demands of the Stomach.”
During the years that followed, other Clevelanders began to participate in the celebration ceremony, which came to be called “Sweetest Day”. In time, the Sweetest Day idea of spreading cheer to the underprivileged was broadened to include everyone, and became an occasion for remembering others with a kind act or a small remembrance. And soon the idea spread to other cities all over the country.
With a very health conscious population out there I am curious how this celebration now almost 100 years old has evolved over the years? I would suspect that the candy companies all still have a plan this close to Halloween and all its sugary creations but there are great healthy alternatives to enjoy this longstanding day amongst our American compadres. Anyone have a great gluten-free brownie recipe? Coconut milk caramels?
Enjoy The Sweetest Day however you see fit…and remember it is more about the message it is meant to convey than the bellyache due to all that SUGAR!