Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Have you ever wondered how candy canes came to be associated with Christmas? I decided to find out and discovered there are many legends, but few hard facts.

The most popular story of the origin of the candy cane is from 1670. A choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out sugar sticks to his young singers to keep them quiet during the long living crèche ceremony. In honor of the occasion, and supposedly to remind them of the season, he had the candies bent into shepherds' crooks.

For those who are interested only in facts, here are a few primary historical references to peppermint sticks and the candy cane.

·        *     In The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-Cook and Baker, published in 1844, there is a recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes.

·       *     The candy cane was mentioned in association with Christmas in a book called Babyland, published in 1882. It was also mentioned as a store window decoration in a story that appeared in Ballou’s Monthly Magazine in 1866.

·       *     In the 1920s the Bunte Brothers in Chicago filed the earliest patents for candy cane making machines.

The candy cane has been given religious meanings, as well. For instance, its shape is like the letter “J” in Jesus’ name. It’s in the shape of the shepherds’ crook, symbolic of how Jesus, like the “Good Shepherd” watches over his children like little lambs. It’s a hard candy, solid like a “rock”, the foundation of the Church. The flavor of peppermint is similar to another member of the mint family, hyssop. In the Old Testament hyssop was used for purification and sacrifice, and this is said to symbolize the purity of Jesus and the sacrifice he made. Some say the white of the candy cane represents the purity of Jesus and his virgin birth. The bold red stripe represents God’s love. The three fine stripes are said by some to represent the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Others say they represent the blood spilled at the beating Jesus received at the hands of the Roman soldiers.

But no matter how the candy cane came about, and what the inventor (whoever it was) really meant, to this day it remains a lasting, tasty Christmas tradition.  

If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a link to a candy cane recipe. It would be fun to make with kids as you have to pull the candy like making taffy.


Post a Comment

Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry