Whether the story of the candy cane is a legend or if it is true is not certain, but this is how the story goes: About two hundred-thirty years ago at the Cologne Cathedral, the children that went to church there were really loud and noisy. They often moved around and would not pay attention to the choirmaster.
This was especially difficult for the choirmaster when they were supposed to be sitting still for the long living Nativity ceremony. So to keep the children quiet, he gave them a long, white, sugar candy stick. He couldn’t give them chocolate or anything like that because the people at that church would think it was sacrilegious. So he gave them the stick and he bent it on the end to look like a cane. It was meant to look like a shepherd’s cane, and so it reminded the children of the shepherds at Jesus’ birth.
In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant in Ohio, America put candy canes on his Christmas tree and soon others were doing the same.
Some people say the white colour of the cane represents the purity of Jesus Christ and the red stripes are for the wounds he suffered. They also sometimes say that the peppermint flavouring represents the hyssop herb used for purifying and spoken of in the Bible. The shape also looks like the letter “J” for Jesus, not just a shepherd’s cane. It is possible that these things were added for religious symbols, but there is no evidence that is true.
From its plain early beginnings to its familiar shape and colour of today, the candy cane is a symbol of Christmas and a reminder of the meaning of the holiday. [NT]