Many people see Sweetest Day as another Valentine’s Day, singles awareness day or a candy store conspiracy. A few fellow Spartans shared their thoughts regarding Sweetest Day, and most said that they thought the holiday was just another excuse to buy cheap chocolate and expensive cards. It’s clear that this holiday is not respected, but in reality, it should be.
In 1922, a candy factory employee and philanthropist named Herbert Birch Kingston sought to do something for the less fortunate. With the help of movie stars Theda Bara and Ann Pennington, thousands of boxes of candy were delivered to hospitals and to the poor and underprivileged throughout the city. True to its giving and generous nature, Sweetest Day became a popular and practiced holiday during The Great Depression, when it served as much more than just a romantic gesture, but also as one of selflessness
The question now remains as to how such a “sweet” holiday became something that many now consider “stupid.” There has been much speculation about this holiday’s birth over the years that suggest it was a conspiracy created by candy factories in order to increase revenue, which is not entirely untrue. Unfortunately, like any idea that gains popularity, Sweetest Day became a profitable opportunity for corporations like Hallmark® and various other companies. In fact, more than 80 percent of cards created by Hallmark for Sweetest Day are romantic. These facts show the downward spiral that eventually transformed the benevolent holiday into one typically associated with couples, love and overpriced red roses. This transformation has left us with only the greed of business owners and has sadly erased the truth of the original purpose this holiday stood for.
With such a giving and charitable origin, it’s sad to see that Sweetest Day has been warped into another romantic holiday, so instead, here are a few ideas of how to celebrate Sweetest Day while saluting its original purpose.
- Reach out to a friend or family member who you know has been having a hard time. Have a movie night, or just hang out to get their mind off of whatever has been causing them trouble.
- Visit a nursing home. The occupants often love nothing more than just to sit and talk with you, and their stories are often captivating and their company quite enjoyable.
- Give a small donation to a meaningful charity. In the spirit of giving back, consider giving a small donation to a charity of your choice. If you are tight on money, donate your time or skills. The smallest amount of help can make a world of difference.
- Be kind. While I would hope we all strive to do this in our everyday lives, we’re all human and we get angry, impatient and frustrated. However, on the third Saturday in October we can all try to consciously be as kind as possible.
Megan Gilhooly is a senior studying professional writing and communication as a double major. Her talents range from finishing a full Netflix season in a week to reading an entire book in one day. She also enjoys coffee, the gym and creative writing in her free time.