Traditions of Christmas: Candy Canes

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Candy Canes were first used by a minister in Germany during the late 1600’s to quiet restless children during long services.

Do you know the story of the candy cane?
Do you know the story of the candy cane?

The white is to represent the sinless life of Christ and the crook in the neck is to represent the shepherds.

During the time of the Puritans the red came to represent the blood of Christ.

Wikipedia shares the following story: According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. In addition, he used the white colour of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus.

From Germany, candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity. As such, according to this legend, the candy cane became associated with Christmastime.

The first recipe for peppermint candy sticks was published in 1844. At the time these sticks were straight.

The candy cane was first mentioned in literature in 1866.

Candy canes were first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874.

The earliest record of candy canes being hung on the tree dates back to 1882.

Bob McCormick of Albany, Georgia began making candy canes for local children in 1919. He formed his own company which has since become a leading producer of candy canes.

Bunte Brothers of Chicago, filed the first patent for candy cane making machines in the 1920s.

Candy canes are given to children at Saint Nicholas Day celebrations to represent the staff of Saint Nicholas and the Good Shephard.


For more in the traditions of Christmas Series: The Christmas Tree, MistletoeChristmas Carols, Advent Wreath

Click here for: For the history of popular Christmas songs, Christmas carols or The Story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus

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