Valentine’s Day is often decried as a “Hallmark” holiday. Of course the day is much older than Hallmark. However in Ohio and the Midwest we have something much closer to a Hallmark holiday on the third Saturday of October.
Like most holidays that involve giving gifts, Sweetest Day started as day in which one was supposed to remember the less fortunate by giving them sweet things, like candy. Therefore, it might be unjust to credit its inventor, a 1920’s candy maker in Cleveland, of inventing a holiday for profit. However, nowadays it has moved to an excuse to expect and/or give cards, candies, and plush toys. Indeed, unlike Valentine’s Day, which is accepted as a day for expressing affection with or without gifts (though interesting studies suggest that gift giving is a very important social action associated with bonding and friendship), Sweetest Day seems to have as its sole purpose the giving of gifts, especially chocolates
The day hasn’t quite caught on beyond the Great Lakes. Indeed, my parents never celebrated it, and it was only from my grandparents that I learned of the holiday. But, just in case, if you’re ever wooing a Great Lakes guy or gal, it might be good to remember this date. At the worst you’ll impress them with your knowledge of mid-American culture.