Monday, December 29, 2008

O Sweet Candy of Unknown Familiarity

Among the commonly seen symbols of the Christmas season is the candy cane. It is not only used as a sweet treat for the festive season, but they are also used as decorations.

How did this candy get its familiar shape? And when did it become part of Christmas tradition? The predecesor of our modern candy cane appeared at about this time in the17th century.

The candy cane was originally a straight, hard, and all-white candy stick invented by French priests in the early 1400s. The cane shape is traditionally credited to a choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany, who, legend has it, in 1670 bent straight candy sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff, and gave them to children at church services.

Candy with red stripes first appeared in the early 1900s. Christmas postcards before 1900s show only white coloured candy canes. They are represented this way on Christmas cards made before 1900, and it is not until the early 20th century that they appear with their familiar red stripes.


Another legend states that the Candy Cane was first introduced in the 1880 by a candy maker in Indiana. He wanted to make a candy that could be a witness to everyone during the holiday season. The candy maker began with a stick of pure white to represent the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus Christ.

The hardness of the candy was meant to represent Jesus as the Solid Rock and the foundation of the church, as well as the firm promises of God. The white stripes on the Candy Cane represent the purity of Christ, while the small thin red stripes symbolize the scourging of Jesus before he was hung on the cross. The large thick red stripes show the blood Jesus shed for each of us on the cross, the ultimate and final sacrifice.

The flavor of peppermint is similar to another member of the mint family, hyssop. In the Old Testament in the Bible, hyssop was used for purification and sacrifice, and this is said to symbolize the purity of Jesus and the sacrifice he made.

He then fashioned the candy cane into the shape of a shepherd's staff because Jesus is the shepherd of all. Whether it was intended or not, if you flip the Candy Cane around, it will become the letter "J" which of course is first letter of Jesus' name.


As there are various legends behind the origin of the candy cane, one version might be credited while others are not. But the meaning behind the symbolic candy cane holds true as a reminder to those who know, the very reason why Christmas is really celebrated - Jesus Christ, came down from heaven to be born of a virgin; the Son of Man grew up faultless, and like a lamb to its shearer was silent, died on the cross for our sins, so that we may be saved.

The true Christmas story of whence Jesus was born, the first Noel, the first Christmas.

Blessed Christmas my friends, and remember the baby born of that one blessed night. O holy night...


God Bless.


  • ~View Guestbook~
  • ~Sign Guestbook~