Describe the Tradition
Candy Canes are hard cane-shaped sticks, usually white with red stripes and flavored with peppermit, grape or cinnamon, altought they can also be made of many other flavours and colours.
It’s believed that candy canes were invented in France by priests in the early 1400s. The cane shape is traditionally credited to a choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany, who, legend has it, in 1670 bent straight sugar sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff, and gave them to children at church service or children that behaved properly in church.
Candy canes became popular in America by the 1800’s and were used to help decorate Christmas trees.
In the early 20th century, the canes gained the beautiful red striping they bear today. Bob McCormick of Albany, GA, is the confectioner responsible for reinventing the candy cane into the model we buy today.
There are many theories around where and when candy canes where invented. For example, we have the theory that supports its French origings. We can also find theories that place candy canes’ origins in Sweden, Italy; or even Indiana (USA). There’s an urban legend that says that a candy maker wanted to symbolize the birth of Christ with the use of a piece of candy, so he took a hard candy stick which was pure white then shaped it into a letter ‘J’ for Jesus and added some red stripes to represent God’s love and the trinity.
The first symbolism we can think of is its shape, wich reminds us to a “J” for Jesus. Turned the other way, candy canes remind us of the shepherd’s staff. The first people to hear of Christ’s birth were shepherds guarding their flocks at night. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and the Bible frequently compares the actions of the Messiah to those of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, feeding them, gently leading them, and carrying them in his bosom.
The sweetness of the candy reminds us that we are fed on the sweet milk of the Gospel of our salvation and peace.