“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”
Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf
Seven candy cane facts or fiction?
In 1670 a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany was responsible for keeping his young singers quiet during the Living Creche ceremony. He ordered some white candies bent into the shape of shepherds’ crooks. The children were delighted to be able to have something sweet to suck on during their quiet period. This story passes on as a legend. History cannot confirm the accuracy of this story, but it makes for a good one.
Candy canes are the No. 1-selling non-chocolate candy during December, with 90 percent of the red and white striped treats sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Candy canes are one of the most popular decorations for Christmas trees. Children can hang them on the tree without fear of dropping them and having them break. If they break, eat them.
In Germany, the board at the Cologne Cathedral told the choirmaster that sweets were not appropriate in a solemn place. The choirmaster created a hook for the candy cane to resemble the shape of a shepherd’s staff, representing the humble shepherds who were first to worship the newborn Christ. The Christmas candy cane is a symbol of the simple roots of Christianity.
Candy Canes were only white for 200 years. The solid white canes made their debut on Christmas cards in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, Christmas cards featured Santa Claus and a reindeer licking a candy cane. Candy makers made the first red and white striped candy canes at the turn of the 19th century and added the peppermint flavor, which quickly became a traditional flavor.
The red stripes—and peppermint flavor—soon became the most popular choice. In the early years, pharmacists coated their medications with mint flavors to hide the real taste of the drug. The mint flavors gave a calm, soothing feeling to the body.
There is no real way of knowing what the red stripes represented. Some stories report that the red stripes were a “secret code” the Christians in Germany spread around. The red stripes represented the blood of Jesus.
In 1847 August Imgard, a German-Swedish immigrant, decorated a blue spruce with paper ornaments and candy canes.
Seventy-two percent of people think that starting on the straight end is the “proper” way to eat a candy cane, while twenty-eight percent begin at the curved end.
Bryan, Ohio, is called the candy cane capital of the world. Americans eat more than ninety percent of the candy canes sold and produced around the world.
Santa gives out candy canes when children sit in his lap and whisper their Christmas wishes into his ear. Candy canes hang from Christmas trees and can be recycled the following year. Parents hide candy canes in the stockings of their children.
Today candy canes come in different colors and flavors. Some are yellow with blue stripes, and others are green with orange stripes. I prefer the traditional red and white ones. I think others do, too, because I went out yesterday to get my candy canes, and they were sold out. There was no toilet paper, disinfectant, or candy canes. I waited too long.
Enjoy your candy canes no matter when, where, or who you are with. The red and white striped candy cane is the one sweet treat that is still on the table and tree this Christmas.
Oh, candy cane! Oh, candy cane!
How you hang on my Christmas tree
The children shriek and reach for you.
The cats try to climb and shake you.
And you refuse to fall from your branch.
How brave you are
To show those around you
That no one can shake you from your branch
I only hope to be like you
To hold on to what I have
And never fall and break apart