Candy Canes

Everything you wanted to know

What?

A candy cane or peppermint stick is a cane-shaped hard candystick associated with Christmas. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint; but is also made in a variety of other flavors and colors.

Origins

According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them.[1][2][3][4] In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to infant Jesus.[1][2][3] In addition, he used the white colour of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus.[1][2][3] From Germany, the candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity.[2][4]

Following the German choirmaster's innovation, bent sugar stick treats became a popular holiday confection throughout Europe. The first documented reference of candy canes in the United States goes back to 1847, when a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard decorated his Christmas tree by hanging the treats from its branches. Friends and family members were delighted by Imgard's idea, and they rushed home to adorn their own Christmas evergreens with candy canes. This tradition quickly spread across the country, making candy canes a staple of Yuletide celebration in the U.S.