|Did you ever wonder
about the origin of the candy cane?
|The symbol of the shepherds crook
is an ancient one, representing the humble shepherds who were the first to worship the
newborn Christ. Its counterpart is our candy cane so old as a symbol that we have
nearly forgotten its humble origin.
Legend has it
that 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 wasnt 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 Lords sacrifice for man.
In the 1920s, Bob McCormack began making
candy canes as special Christmas treats for his children, friends and local shopkeepers in
Albany, Georgia. It was a laborious process pulling, twisting, cutting and bending
the candy by hand. It could only be done on a local scale.
In the 1950s, Bobs brother-in-law, Gregory Keller, a Catholic priest, invented a
machine to automate candy cane production. Packaging innovations by the younger McCormacks
made it possible to transport the delicate canes on a scale that transformed Bobs Candies,
Inc. into the largest producer of candy canes in the world.
Although modern technology has made candy canes accessible and plentiful, theyve
not lost their purity and simplicity as a traditional holiday food and symbol of the
humble roots of Christianity.
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
by Charles Panati / Paperback - 480 pages Reissue edition / HarperCollins
Discover the fascinating stories behind the origins of over 500 everyday items,
expressions and customs.
Legend of the Candy Cane
by Lori Walburg, James Bernardin (Illustrator) / Hardcover - 32 pages / Zondervan;
(October 19, 1997)
In this Christmas picture book, children will learn the Christian symbolism behind the
candy cane and the importance of sharing the story of Jesus with others.
Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Matt Tavares / Library Binding:- 32 pages / Candlewick Press; (October 2002)
Capture the mystery, surprise and anticipation of what many children consider the most
magical night of the year. The finely wrought portraits and shadowy, snow-covered
Victorian setting will enchant.
ON THE SCREEN:
The Legend of the Candy Cane
DVD / U.S. and Canada only. / Animated, Color, Closed-captioned / Fox Home Entertainme
Based on the bestselling book, this is an inspirational animated Christmas story brimming
with Christian virtues. DVD features include a "making of" segment featuring
storyboards in progress and interviews with stars.
ON THE WEB:
History of the Candy Cane
This site sponsered by the National Confectioners Association has the histoy of many
candies including the candy cane.
The Story of
The Candy Cane
The symbol of the shepherd's crook is an ancient one, representing the humble
shepherds who were first to worship the newborn Christ.
Symbolism of Candy Canes
Candy canes were created to symbolize Jesus, their shape representing the letter
"J" and their colors standing for the purity and blood of Christ.
HOW IT WORKS:
Many machines help with the production of this popular
Christmas confection. Sugar and corn syrup are heated in large kettles and then vacuum
cooked. The candy is poured on a cooling table where peppermint and starch are added. The
starch holds flavor during mixing and prevents stickiness. Next, a kneader mixes the
flavoring and candy together until it turns a golden brown color. Afterwards, it is placed
into a puller that turns the candy silky white. It moves to a batch former and is made
into a log-like shape.
The stripes are formed on a heating table and placed on the
white log. The candy is put back on the batch roller and formed into a cone shape. Sizing
wheels reduce the cone to the diameter of a candy cane and turn it into a rope. Next, a
twister will make the rope into a barber pole.
Finally, it moves to a cutter that snips the candy into
strips. The candy is kept warm so it will not harden. It is placed in wrappers and the
heat of the candy will shrink the wrappers. The canes move to a crooker, which will give
the candy its Shepards Crook or hook. The candy canes are placed into a box (called
a cradle) inspected and shipped.
DID YOU KNOW?
- For 200 years, the candy cane came only in one color
- National Candy Cane Day is celebrated December 26th in the
- In December 1998 Richard and Kathleen Fabiano-Ghinelli made
the biggest candy cane at 36 feet 7 inches
- Each year 1.76 billion candy canes are made enough to
stretch from Santa Clause, IN to North Pole, AK and back again 32 times
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised November 29, 2005.