Ancient Tradition And True Meaning Of Candy Canes

Ellen Lloyd - - Have you ever wondered what’s behind the ancient Christmas tradition and the true meaning of candy canes?

Due to the J-shape, many people associate candy canes with the name Jesus, but that is wrong. The shape was meant to represent the crooks of the shepherds to whom the angel announced the first Nativity.

The candy cane began as an all-white, straight, sugar treat, and is believed to have been invented by French priests in the early part of the 15th century.

The choirmaster purportedly passed out the confections to young children attending the services at the living creche, or Nativity scene, in order to keep them quiet during the long ceremony. Due to their success in hushing youngsters, their appeal to the taste buds, or perhaps a combination of both, the custom of passing out the treats at such ceremonies spread.

Ancient Tradition And True Meaning Of Candy Canes

An early image of candy canes. Image credit: Sunshine Pub.Co.Phila. - Sunshine Pub.Co.Phila.

By the 16th century, the decorating of Christmas trees, which had begun in Germany, had become popular in other parts of Europe as well. Early trees were adorned with fruits, colored paper, flowers, and candy. The straight, white sticks of candy were one of the items used in garnishing the trees.

Ancient Tradition And True Meaning Of Candy Canes

The tradition was brought to Ohio, USA by August Imgard, a German immigrant, who is generally credited with being the first person in America to decorate a Christmas tree with candy canes. Gregory Keller, a Catholic priest and brother-in-law of Bob McCormack, invented the first candy cane machine. Bob McCormack’s company, Bob’s Candies, then became the major candy cane manufacturer. In time candy canes grew in size. The largest candy cane ever created was made by candy shop owner Paul Ghinelli in 2001.  It measured in at 58 ft. and 2.25 inches (17.74 meters).

See also:

Why We Celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day – The Bringer Of Light And Patron Of The Blind

Ancient Secrets Of Mistletoe – Sacred Celtic Plant With Magical Powers

Shaped sugar treats were probably the earliest form of candy. Families that could afford and had access to sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, flavoring, and coloring made candy canes at home.

The colored stripe and flavor were added much later in the candy cane’s history. The curve at the top of the cane, making it look like a shepherd’s crook was not intended to make it easy to hang on people’s Christmas trees, as some people think.

See also: More About Christmas Traditions

Needless to say, candy canes have become popular not only among children but also adults which is also the reason why approximately 1.76 billion candy canes are produced every year.

Written by  Ellen Lloyd –

Copyright © & Ellen Lloyd All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of and Ellen Lloyd

Expand for references