Saturday, October 21st is Sweetest Day. My ex-husband used to refer to it as a Hallmark Holiday and say it was another excuse for us women to lay guilt on men and for the greeting card companies and florists to make a buck. Needless to say, I never got so much as a card and it was not celebrated at our house which really didn't bother me much. That he kept forgetting my birthday until the kids got old enough that they would remind him bothered me a lot more. (The Man in Motown has always remembered my birthday since our chat and emailing days. Cool, huh?)
There was some discussion about Sweetest Day at work today and I started thinking about his stance on it again and I decided to do some research. So I went a-googling and found a site called FUNMUNCH where they gave a short history of Sweetest Day. It really is a lovely little holiday. According to FUNMUNCH:
"Observed the 3rd Saturday in the month of October, Sweetest Day observance originated in Cleveland in 1922. Herbert Birch Kingston, a philanthropist and candy company employee wanted to bring happiness into the lives of orphans, shut-ins and others who were forgotten. With the help of friends, he began to distribute candy and small gifts to the underprivileged. On the first Sweetest Day, movie star Ann Pennington presented 2,200 Cleveland newspaper boys with boxes of candy to express gratitude for their service to the public. Another popular movie star, Theda Bara, distributed 10,000 boxes of candy to people in Cleveland hospitals and also gave candy to all who came to watch her film in a local theater. Primarily a regional observance celebrated in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, Sweetest Day is gradually spreading to other areas of the country. People tend to take the Sweetest Day tradition with them when they move. Ohio is the top state for Sweetest Day sales, followed by Michigan and Illinois. Texas, California and Florida are among the top 10 states in sales. Over the years, Sweetest Day has evolved into a time to express romantic love and also to show appreciation to friends."
Since I live about an hour south of Cleveland, I found it particularly interesting that Ohio gave birth to a holiday! I also really like the original sentiment behind it -- to bring happiness to those who are forgotten. The current idea that it's Valentine's Day redux where one sends flowers & candy or gifts & dinner out is the norm was nowhere in the original Sweetest Day.
So here I go thinking again -- why not try to revive the original idea? I think I'm going to call our local domestic violence shelter and ask if I can drop some flowers off for the ladies on Saturday. A dozen carnations aren't too dear and I know how much an act of kindness as small as a single flower can mean to those women whose lives are in tatters. Other ideas include nursing homes and hospices. Or perhaps a little something for some elders or handicapped folks y'all might know who are housebound. It doesn't have to be fancy -- small kindnesses are the best kind!
What do you think? Let me know!