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Candy cane

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Title: Candy cane  
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Subject: List of Christmas dishes, Christmas tree, Christmas traditions, Hard candy, Mint (candy)
Collection: Candy, Christian Symbols, Christmas Food, Confectionery, Urban Legends
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Candy cane

Candy cane
A traditional candy cane
Type Confectionery
Main ingredients Sugar, flavouring (often peppermint)
Cookbook: Candy cane 

A candy cane or peppermint stick is a cane-shaped stick candy associated with Christmastide,[1] as well as Saint Nicholas Day.[2] It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint, but is also made in a variety of other flavors and colors.


  • Origins 1
    • Candy cane production 1.1
  • Saint Nicholas Day 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


An early image of candy canes

According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them.[3][4][5][6] In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to infant Jesus.[3][4][5] In addition, he used the white colour of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus.[3][4][5] From Germany, the candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity.[4][6] As such, according to this legend, the candy cane became associated with Christmastide.[1]

A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with coloured stripes, was published in 1844.[7] The candy cane has been mentioned in literature since 1866,[8] was first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874,[9] and as early as 1882 was hung on Christmas trees.[10]

Candy cane production

Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed one of the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s.[11] Meanwhile, in 1919 in Rome named Gregory Harding Keller, who used to spend his summers back home working in the candy factory. In 1957, an ordained a Roman Catholic Christian priest of the Diocese of Little Rock, Keller patented his invention, the Keller Machine[12] which automated the process of twisting soft candy into spiral striping and then cutting them into precise lengths as candy canes. Also in 1957 Noras candy cane was invented and used as a succulent treat for many. Fr. Keller and his machine gained national fame in the 1960s when he was a contestant on the popular TV show What's My Line.[13]

Saint Nicholas Day

In celebrations of Saint Nicholas Day, candy canes are given to children as they are also said to represent the crosier of the Christian bishop, Saint Nicholas;[2] crosiers themselves allude to the Good Shepherd, a title associated with Jesus.[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ a b Hartel, Richard W.; Hartel, AnnaKate (28 March 2014). Candy Bites: The Science of Sweets. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 53.  
  2. ^ a b American Christmas Tree Journal. National Christmas Tree Association. 2005. p. 40. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death in 343 A.D. The candy cane is said to represent the crozier, or bishop's staff, of St. Nicholas. 
  3. ^ a b c R. O. Parker (19 October 2001). Introduction to Food Science.  
  4. ^ a b c d Helen Haidle (2002). Christmas Legends to Remember.  
  5. ^ a b c Ace Collins (20 April 2010). Great Traditions of Christmas. Zondervan. Retrieved 17 December 2011. Church history records that in 1670 the choirmaster at Germany's Cologne Cathedral was faced with a problem that still challenges parents, teachers, and choir directors today. In ancient Cologne, as well as in thousands of churches today, the children in the choir often grew restless and noisy during the long services. He sought out a local candy maker, and after looking over the treats in his shop, the music leader paused in front of some white sweet sticks. Yet the choirmaster wondered if the priests and parents would allow him to give the children in his choir candy to eat during a church service. The choirmaster asked the candy maker if he could bend the sticks and make a crook at the top of each one. The candy would not be just a treat; it would be a teaching tool. The choirmaster decided that the candy's pure white color would represent the purity of Christ. The crook would serve as a way for the children to remember the story of the shepherds who came to visit the baby Jesus. The shepherds carried staffs or canes, and with the hook at the top of the stick, the candy now looked like a cane. 
  6. ^ a b It's Christmas Season: My, How Sweet It Is!. The Milwaukee Journal. 13 December 1968. Retrieved 20 December 2011. In 1670, a choirmaster at Germany's Cologne cathedral bent the ends of some sugar sticks to represent shepherds' crooks, and distributed them to youngsters. The practice spread. 
  7. ^ The complete confectioner, pastry ... – Eleanor Parkinson – Google Books. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  8. ^ Ballou's monthly magazine – Google Books. 1977-04-29. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  9. ^ The Nursery – Google Books. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  10. ^ Babyland – Charles Stuart Pratt – Google Books. 2004-06-30. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  11. ^ "Patent US1680440 – CANDY-FORMING MACHINE – Google Patents". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Origin of the Candy Cane". Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  14. ^ Karambai, Sebastian S. (1 January 2005). Ministers and Ministries in the Local Church: A Comprehensive Guide to Ecclesiastical Norms. The Bombay Saint Paul Society. p. 41.  
  15. ^ Webb, Val (30 September 2010). Stepping Out with the Sacred.  

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of candy cane at Wiktionary
  • Candy Canes and Silver Lanes: The Invention of a Holiday Favorite
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