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History of Candy Canes

By Edited Aug 12, 2015 1 2

The original candy cane was made by amateurs and professionals 350 years ago. Over time the candy cane has become a symbol and tradition during the Christmas holiday. The sugar cane had been distributed worldwide and all yearlong before it became the symbol of Christmas. The history of candy canes and the candy cane, itself was not always made in the shape of a cane. The first candy cane confection was white, completely straight and only flavored with sugar. There is more to the history of candy canes than just being a delightful piece of candy that one receives and decorates with at Christmas time.

The history of candy canes tells us in 1670, the cane shaped candy became historical when a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral bent one of the solid white and completely straight candies into a shape to represent the staff of a shepherd in order to bring religious connotation to the candy confection. The bent sugar sticks or candy canes were handed out to children at mass, to keep them quiet during services around the Christmas holiday. The new custom and tradition of passing out bent sugar canes eventually spread all over Europe and to the Americans.

The first historical reference in the history of candy canes, in America, dates back to 1847. In the history of candy canes, it is said that a blue spruce Christmas tree was decorated with paper ornaments and candy canes, by a German-Swedish immigrant, name August Imgard. August Imgard was from Wooster, Ohio. This was an era before lights and electricity and a variety of staples were used to decorate the Christmas trees including paper, candles, cookies and various household snacks.

The sugar canes were on Christmas cards in the early 1900's and appeared to be solid white. At the turn of the 1900 century, the first red and white striped candy canes were made. Wintergreen flavors were added and quickly became a traditional flavor. Later the peppermint flavor was added as a part of the history of candy canes. No one in the history of candy canes is exactly sure when and where the red stripe of the candy cane first appeared or why.

Some people believe that part of the history of candy canes is a representation or Christianity. Some people believe that the red stripes of the candy cane represent the blood of Christ and the white stripes of the candy cane is said to represent the purity of Christ or the virgin birth. The traditional three red stripes are also said to remind one of the Holy Trinities. The "j" shape of the candy cane is the shape of the first letter of the name Jesus. Other people insist that the "j" shape of the candy cane is to represent the staffs that the shepherds carried when they came to see the new born Christ child in the manger of Bethlehem. The solid texture or hardness of the candy cane is said to represent the foundation of the church being rock solid. The popular peppermint flavor of the candy cane is supposed to stem from an herb in the Old Testament called hyssop. Hyssop was associated with sacrifice and purification, in the Old Testament.

In the 1920's Bob McCormak, from Atlanta, Georgia, used candy canes as special Christmas treats for his friends and family. In the 1950's, a man named, Gregory Keller (Bob's brother-in-law) invented a machine designed especially for the automation of candy cane productions. As part of the history of candy canes, the machine was invented to easily twist candy canes into their familiar shape. The laborious process of making candy canes was eliminated. Part of the history of the candy canes says that together the two brother's developed packaging that made it easy to ship candy canes without breaking them. Bob's Candies, Inc became the largest producer of candy canes worldwide and has been in business for over eighty years.

The candy cane is made by mixing and cooking the candy confection in batch form. The typical candy cane is usually about six inches long and point twenty five of an inch thick, although the size often varies by the candy maker. Candy canes today are made in may different colors and flavors. The primary ingredient of the candy cane is the sweeteners. Candy canes are made mostly of sugar. The sugar used in the making of the candy cane must be of the highest quality, so that the candy cane will hold the familiar cane shape. The use of corn syrup aides in making the candy cane hold color. If corn syrup were to be skipped in the process of making the candy, the canes would look transparent and perhaps the entire history of candy canes would be altered and myths and historical facts would not be known as they are known today about the delightful candy cane that many shares and decorate with during the Christmas holiday season.



Nov 10, 2009 6:08am
I really enjoyed this article. I personally didn't know the history of candy canes. Thumbs up!
Aug 13, 2010 3:49pm
Very informative info on the history of the candy cane.
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