The Origins of the Candy Cane
We’ve probably all heard the story of the German choirmaster who created white, sugary shepherd’s hooks to keep the children quiet during the services. But, there are almost as many candy cane creation stories as there are varieties of candy canes!
What’s certain is that these popular Christmas treats were originally all white. Many have attached a religious connection to them, saying that the white candy cane represented the sinlessness of the life of Jesus. As for the shape, many also claim that it’s meant to look like a shepherd’s hook, to remind children of the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus.
Although they were probably created in 1670 in Germany, it wasn’t until 1844 that a recipe for straight candy sticks was published. And in the mid 1800s, candy canes were hung on Christmas trees for the first time. Back in the day, it was common to hang sweets and baked goods from the festive tree, so the candy canes were a perfect addition!
Christmas cards from before and after the 1900s reveal that it wasn’t until the turn of the century that candy canes earned their stripes. There’s lots of lore around the stripes as well, with some saying the thickest stripe represents Jesus, while the three smaller stripes represent the Holy Trinity.
Around the turn of the century, peppermint and wintergreen flavors were also added to the sweets, whose flavors could be distinguished by either a red or green stripe, for peppermint or wintergreen, respectively.
In the 1950s, a Catholic priest by the name of Gregory Keller invented an automated candy cane machine, to twist the candies into their popular shape. And since then, there’s been no looking back.
Today, candy canes are arguably the most popular holiday candy with the longest-standing history. And they’re not just peppermint and wintergreen anymore. Check out all of the canes we have to offer. You’re sure to find something for every candy-cane-craving sweet tooth.
Day 6: Candy Canes