Everything You Need to Know About the Story of the Candy Cane

Do you know the story of the candy cane? It’s a fun story about the origin of candy canes that your whole family can enjoy together, especially with the abundance of candy canes during the Christmas season. The history of the candy cane is long and its legend is steeped in tradition. There are several different versions of the legend, but all of them involve Christmas and candy canes! Let’s explore the story of the candy cane and its origins. Be sure to print out the printable version of the legend for you to enjoy with your family as well! The candy cane is about to get an all-new meaning!

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The Story Behind the Candy Cane

Much of the story of the candy cane is a legend, but there do seem to be parts of the story that are known to be true. It’s fun to read about what we know and fantasize about what we don’t know for sure. It’s such a fun story for Christmas time!

Who invented the candy cane?

From what I’ve learned, it seems that the origin of the candy cane began in Germany around 1670. A local candy maker, who was a German choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, began making these candy sticks to keep the children quiet. However, in honor of the Living Creche ceremony, he bent the first candy can into the shape of a shepherd’s staff. This made them more “appropriate” for the solemn ceremony.

I don’t know about you, but in my experience, it can be challenging to keep little ones still during a service. What a great idea this choirmaster had! Maybe you can try it this season.

As moms, unless we prioritize our relationship with God, it can easily fall by the wayside. Learn more about growing closer to God. As we grow closer to Him, we become a better wife and mother as well.

So, the tradition of giving candy canes as Christmas gifts began in the early 1800s. At that time, it was common for people to give small gifts like candies and nuts to their friends and family members during the holiday season. The candy cane became popular because it was easy to make and it could be packaged into small boxes or bags. Over time, the meaning of the candy cane has evolved, but its history remains steeped in tradition!

The candy cane then became popular around Europe, but the candy cane was originally just a stick of pure white hard candy and not flavored. Reportedly, it was a man named August Imgard, who was a German immigrant, who brought the candy cane to the United States and put them on his Christmas tree in 1847. However, it wasn’t until after 1900 that the candy cane began having stripes and peppermint oil or spearmint for flavor. Let me tell you about that.

It wasn’t until 1919 that Bob McCormack, a candy maker, began producing the now-popular candy cane. At first, Bob’s candies had to make them into the shape of a “J” by hand but later had a machine to make the shape. They have now been the same for over one hundred years!

Pinnable image for the story of the candy cane post of a mug full of candy canes and Christmas decorations in the background.

Candy Cane Legend

As mentioned, there are many legends surrounding the story of the candy cane. Some of them may or may not be true. Regardless, the Christian legends surrounding the candy cane are quite interesting. I want to share with you some answers with you regarding common questions about the candy cane.

How did the candy cane get its stripes?

The candy cane legend says that the candy maker wanted his new candy to represent the holiday season. It’s kind of like a secret code with Christian meanings! The red stripes on the candy represent the blood of Christ. The white stripes of the candy cane represent the sinless nature of Jesus. Also, the 3 stripes (those that have it) are said to represent the trinity, while the hardness of the candy represents the solid rock the church was founded on.

What does an upside-down candy cane mean?

Some say the shape of the candy cane represents the staff of the good shepherds, while others say it’s the letter “J” to represent Jesus. However, remember that the first candy canes were actually straight sticks of white candy, but the choirmaster bent them. This was in the 17th century that the candy cane took on its familiar curved shape in order to represent a shepherd’s staff, which is an important symbol in the Christmas story. If you think about it, Jesus is the great Shephard.

Candy Cane Poem

You may have seen this poem about the candy cane before. It’s such a cute way of reminding you of the significance of what the candy cane stands for as Jesus’ sacrifice according to legend. It’s also a great reminder of the true reason Christmas season. Check it out below.

background of candy canes and pine boughs with Candy Cane Poem in the center

Also, be sure to use my legend of the candy cane printable to attach to a candy cane and give it as a gift. This would be a great way for you and your children to spread the true meaning of Christmas this season with a piece of candy.

The Legend of the Candy Cane Book

Now that you’ve learned about the long history and legend of the candy cane, be sure to get this cute book by Lori Walburg. While this is geared toward young children, it’s a great book to have around or give as a gift.

We love hanging candy canes on our Christmas tree as well as giving them out during the Christmas season. Knowing the history and traditions of the candy cane gives it a whole new meaning! Be sure to share the meaning of the candy cane with your children this season.

How will you share the story of the candy cane with others? Please comment below. Also, be sure to check out my other Christmas resources next.

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