With Christmas in only two days (how crazy is that?), I thought that it would be appropriate to do a Christmas post. And because I love history, I decided that learning about the origins of the candy cane would suffice perfectly.
During the seventeenth century, Christians in Europe began to make use of Christmas trees as part of their celebrations during Christmas. Homemade decorations were fashioned for them – many being edible items like sugar-stick candy and cookies.
The year 1670 is when the first, actual reference to the candy cane comes into play. At Cologne Cathedral in Germany, the choirmaster bent sugar-sticks into canes in order to represent the shepherd’s staff. These solid white candy canes were then handed out to the children throughout the nativity services.
This custom of handing out the white sugar-sticks during long church services, spread all through Europe and in later years to America.
Interestingly, before 1900 there is no mention of the candy cane ever having red stripes. The person who added the signature red is still unknown, however, Christmas cards after 1900 clearly depict the striped candy. During this same century, candy makers began to add wintergreen and peppermint flavors to the favorite Christmas treat. These quickly caught on and as we now know, are favorites among most people.
The meaning of the candy cane varies, but for Christians, it has special meaning. Red represents the blood of Christ, while the white his purity. Although the shape is said to be reminiscent of a shepherd’s staff, it is also told to be the “J” in Jesus’ name.
And there you have it! The history of the candy cane. I hope y’all enjoyed learning about a bit of Christmas history and I pray that each time you see a candy cane or lick its delicious sugary goodness, you are reminded of the very great sacrifice that Jesus gave: his life.
Merry Christmas y’all!
~ Southern Dreamer