Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love - Candy Canes

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This is my third article on Christmas Traditions.
 To enter the blog hop scroll down or click here.

As part of the Holiday Gifts of Christmas Series, I thought I'd blog about the candy I associate the most with the holiday.  Below is the information I collected from various sources on the web.

The Candy Cane

The origin of the candy cane goes back over 350 years, when candy-makers both professional and amateur were making hard sugar sticks. The original candy was straight and completely white in color.

Around the seventeenth century, European-Christians began to adopt the use of Christmas trees as part of their Christmas celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services.

The clergymen's custom of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The canes were still white, but sometimes the candy-makers would add sugar-roses to decorate the canes further.

The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.

The Stripes

About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.

Sweet Secrets of the Candy Cane

There are many other legends and beliefs surrounding the humble candy cane. Many of them depict the candy cane as a secret symbol for Christianity used during the times when Christian were living under more oppressive circumstances. It was said that the cane was shaped like a "J" for Jesus. The red-and-white stripes represented Christ's blood and purity. The three red stripes symbolized the Holy Trinity. The hardness of the candy represented the Church's foundation on solid rock and the peppermint flavor represented the use of hyssop, an herb referred to in the Old Testament. There is no historical evidence to support these claims, quite the contrary, but they are lovely thoughts.

A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The candy cane has been mentioned in literature since 1866, was first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874, and as early as 1882 was hung on Christmas trees. Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s.


  1. I agree there is SOO Many ideas about them ...

    Thanks for sharing the great post :)

    Happy Holidays

  2. As a child I didn't like peppermint, so our candy canes hung on the tree each year, still wrapped in their plastic covers, reused for several years before being thrown out. Now I like some peppermint, but the flavors and new colors seem somewhat of a sacriledge.

    Thanks for TWO greata Christmas posts! (I loved the plants as well!)

  3. wow thanks for that info.. love learning new things... I knew about the general information of where a candy cane came from but learning all the extras makes it that much more. Thank you for being part of the hop and merry christmas

  4. One of my favorite Christmas Romance Books is The Untamable Rogue by Annette Blair! The story is about Ashford Blackburne Fifth Earl and he has to get married and get his willing bride pregnant before Christmas or his grandfather won’t let him inherit his money. Ash truly needs to inherit the money because his late father squandered it all away and he is taking care of his mother. After getting stood up at the alter, again, Ash and his friends go to the local pub where the owner plays a drunken Ash in a card game…his consolation prize is the pubs daughter Larkin, who he wants to get ride of. Ash has to learn to forgive…Larkin has to learn how to trust…can two completely different people find love together. This is a cute, extremely funny, romantic story with a surprise Christmas ending!

  5. Thanks for the great hop.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  6. Happy Holidays & thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  7. That's awesome, I didn't know that.


  8. I'm spending this holiday season with my family and hoping to win so I can read more romances. I don't have an ereader. Happy Holidays! lisarayns at gmail dot com

  9. Lots of good entries. I combined the lists and used Randomizer to select my winner. Please see the Blog Hop post below to view the winner.


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