Christmas is not Christmas without the peppermint-flavoured, red-and-white-striped candy. Whether you enjoy it as treat or use it as an ornament to decorate your tree, the candy cane is found in every household to symbolize the coming of this holiday. Have you ever wondered where candy canes come from? There are many different stories about their origin, all of which contain Christian religious symbolism.
According to church history, in 1670 the choirmaster at Germany's Cologne Cathedral first came up with the idea. Faced with the problem of keeping children from growing restless and noisy during the long service, he needed something to induce children to behave well. So, he found a local candy maker and while looking over the treats in his shop, some white sweet sticks caught his attention. However, he wondered whether the priests and the parents will allow the children to eat candy during the church service. Therefore, he asked the candy master if he could bend one end of the sticks so that it would be a teaching tool instead of a mere distraction. He decided that the candy's pure white colour would represent Christ's purity. The crook made the candy look like a cane, reminding the children of the shepherds carrying canes with them when they went to visit baby Jesus.
Another story traces the history of this sweet back to a candy maker in Indiana, who wanted to make a candy that can be a witness. He incorporated several symbols from the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He took a pure, hard candy with white colour that symbolizes the Virgin Birth, purity and sinless nature of Jesus. The hardness mirrors the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church and the firmness of the promises of God. The “J” shape represents the name of Jesus. He thought that the candy was plain in this way, so he added some red stripes. The small ones show the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed and the large red stripe symbols the blood shed by Christ on the cross.
There is no clear evidence that both of these tales are true. Nowadays, they remain a myth and an interesting story to tell when gathered around the fireplace at Christmas.
Here are some Candy Cane recipes you can make in the days to come:
Candy Cane Cookies
Christmas Chocolate Candy Cane
Mocha Walnut Christmas Cookies
Christmas Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Candy Cane Bread
Candy Cane Cheesecake