History of the Candy Cane

Wow, my last post was nearly 2 weeks ago! Sorry about that, guess we have been busy enjoying our Advent! This Christmas has been truly wonderful so far, and we haven’t even reached the big day yet! Both my kids are so into it, and so excited with the count down! We’ve been baking, and wrapping, and singing carols. We have also been praying. We have done a family rosary a few times, and my son even requested it one night when we weren’t planning on it. I think that’s a pretty major win in the parenting column of life!

We have also been trying to stay warm! Southern Ontario (where we live) as well as many other parts of Canada, and the US too, were hit by a major ice storm this weekend. Our power has been coming and going all day! We did still make it to Mass, as the main roads weren’t bad, but it took my wonderful husband a very long time to clear the van off! Nearly an inch of ice coats everything; it is both beautiful and so very dangerous. Trees are down all over, including several large ones blocking one end of our street. Thankfully, in all the out and abouts today, I didn’t see any accidents, or trees on houses or cars….but there was plenty of that in other parts! My parents live just around the corner, but on a different power grid, and had no power for over 14 hours today! Thankfully they have a gas range, and were able to cook food and bowl water.

Now on to the real reason I am writing on this chilly and icy Sunday evening. Do you know the history of the candy cane? No not that blueberry flavour one, or the root beer flavoured one, but the classic red and white one?! Rumour has it, that it is in fact a Christian treat, so I thought I would share the bits and pieces of the rumoured history of that delicious little peppermint cane.

I first came across the idea of this when I saw a Pin (on Pinterest) with the cane upside down saying it was a J for Jesus, with a little poem attached. I thought that was kinda silly, but cute, and that started me wondering about what the actual story was behind the candy cane. There are several different stories out there, but the one that came up the most, was that it was a treat developed by a candy maker to give to kids to keep them quiet during the Christmas concerts on at his local Church. To make it acceptable with the parents, to be giving candy to the kids, he made the treat shaped like a cane to represent a shepherd’s staff, because Jesus is our shepherd. He coloured it white to represent Jesus being pure, and red for the blood he shed for us to live. Some stories go as far as to say that the original canes with the thick red line and three thinner red lines represent Jesus’ wounds from being whipped. And that the peppermint flavour was inspired by the flavour of hyssop that was popular when Jesus was alive.

I found all this so fascinating. Something that seems so ordinary, and secular, has a Christian history! And quite a funny one at that. I wonder how many heads would turn if I pulled out a bag of candy canes and handed them out to all the little kids during Mass…

My husband also visited our local Catholic Book Store, and they had a box of candy canes by the cash, selling them for 25 cents each, and they had this little story attached to them! So maybe more people knew about this than I thought. Did you?! So next time you share a candy cane with your child, a family member, or even a stranger, share this little tale with them! Spread His good word, and keep Christ in Christmas.

history of the candy cane

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