By Brenna Hall
So, you buy candy canes for the kids or for the decorations every year but do you really know where they come from? The candy cane is a Christmas tradition that many hold dear but nobody really knows why. Let's face it -- the only things we really know about candy canes is that they taste good and that they are red and white.
Whether the story of the candy cane is a legend or if it is true is not certain, but this is how the story goes: About two hundred-thirty years ago at the Cologne Cathedral, the children that went to church there were really loud and noisy. They often moved around and would not pay attention to the choirmaster.
This was especially difficult for the choirmaster when they were supposed to be sitting still for the long living Nativity ceremony. So to keep the children quiet, he gave them a long, white, sugar candy stick. He couldn't give them chocolate or anything like that because the people at that church would think it was sacrilegious. So he gave them the stick and he bent it on the end to look like a cane. It was meant to look like a shepherd's cane, and so it reminded the children of the shepherds at Jesus' birth.
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.
Some people say the white color represents the purity of Jesus Christ and the red stripes are for the wounds he suffered. They also sometimes say that the peppermint flavoring represents the hyssop herb used for purifying and spoken of in the Bible. The shape also looks like the letter "J" for Jesus, not just a shepherd's cane. It is possible that these things were added for religious symbols, but there is no evidence that is true.
Around 1920, a man in Georgia named Bob McCormack wanted to make candy canes for his family and friends. He later 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.