Monday, December 13, 2010

Candy Cane Season

Have you heard about the origins of the candy cane? Have you been told that it all began when a candymaker wanted to make a sweet that would symbolize the birth, ministry and death of Jesus? So he made a stick of pure white hard candy, white symbolizing the virgin birth and the sinless life of Jesus. The hardness symbolizes how Jesus is the solid rock and the foundation of the church. The firmness also represents the promises of God.The candy maker bent the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, also representing the staff of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The three small red stripes show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe is for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could be forgiven and have the promise of eternal life. Does all this ring a bell? And why mint? The flavor of mint is related to hyssop, which is associated with purification and sacrifice; hyssop is thought to have been used at the cross when Jesus was given a drink of vinegar before He gave up the Ghost.

Or maybe you heard it this way?

In 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral handed out sugar sticks among his young singers to keep them quiet during the long Living Creche ceremony. In honor of the occasion, he had the candies bent into shepherds’ crooks. In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decorated a small blue spruce with paper ornaments and candy canes. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that the red and white stripes and peppermint flavors became the norm. The body of the cane is white, representing the life that is pure. The broad red stripe is symbolic of the Lord’s sacrifice for man.


In its early form, the candy cane was a simple white stick of sugar. No cane shape, no stripes. The bend came next, possibly as a practical solution in the handmade process of pulling, cutting, and twisting the sugar stick, so as to facilitate hanging on a rod to dry.

The first mass production of candy canes is generally thought to have been achieved by Bob's Candy Company in 1920. Today, Bob's is part of the mega candy company Farley's & Sathers, who have taken over Trolli, Chuckles, Brach's, and a host of other traditional brands. Bobs (minus the apostrophe these days) are still dominant in the candy cane market.