Sweetest Day is an observance celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes region, and parts of the Northeast United States, on the third Saturday in October (October 21 in 2023). It is described by Retail Confectioners International as 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 has also been referred to as a "concocted promotion" created by the candy industry solely to increase sales of sweets.
Sweetest Day commonly involves women giving their husband or boyfriends candy. While it is not as large or widely observed as Valentine's Day, it is still celebrated in parts of the United States, despite persistent allegations of being a "Hallmark holiday." Retail Confectioners International describes it as "much more important for candymakers in some regions than in others (Detroit, Cleveland and being the biggest Sweetest Day cities)".
Sweetest Day was a promotion concocted by Cleveland confectioners in 1921. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's October 8, 1921 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 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. (From: Wikipedia)