The Legend behind the Candy Canes

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Which images pop up in your mind when you hear the word “Christmas”? My guess would be red and white, Santa Claus, Christmas tree, snow, presents, fireplace, great food, family….and candy canes! These delicious candies with their weird shape and unique taste are a must during Christmas time and bring some colours in your tree or on your table. For some reason, i always thought that they came from America as they are not very popular in France as far as i know, same in England it seems. After few searches on the Internet, i realise that candy canes were first born in Germany and then mass- produced in the States years later.

Not sure if it’s a legend or the actual true story but apparently everything started about 230 years ago at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany where children who used to go there with their parents used to be very loud and noisy, never listening to the choirmaster. In order to keep them quiet, the choirmaster decided to give them some long, white, sugar candy stick. (we all know that kids would do anything for candy!) To make it funnier, he bent the candy sticks to make them look like a shepherd’s cane, such as the shepherds present at Jesus’ birth. According to the legend, that’s where come from the shape of the candy , also representing the “J” for Jesus…

In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant in Wooster, Ohio put candy canes on his Christmas tree and soon others were doing the same. Sometime around 1900 candy canes came to look more like what we know them as today with the red stripes and peppermint flavoring.

Finally, around 1920, a guy in Georgia named Bob McCormack, who wanted to make candy canes for his family and friends, started mass-producing candy canes for his own business which he named Bob’s Candies. This is where many of our candy canes come from today!