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Why Do We Eat Candy Canes at Christmas?

We see candy canes everywhere during the holidays, but why? There are various legends that may have shaped the reason why we use these sweet treats during Christmastime. One legend has it that before these were red and white striped canes like we are familiar with today, they were plain white sugar sticks. They were allegedly shaped like canes in the 1600's when a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany bent the sugar-sticks to appear as shepherd's hooks. The white candy canes were then given out to children who attended the church ceremonies.

Another legend of the beloved Christmas candy is that the shape and form of the candy cane has religious meaning. It is believed that the red stripes of the candy cane represent the blood of Christ and the white stripes of the candy cane represent the purity of Christ. The hook or "J" shape of the candy cane is said to represent Jesus's name.

The holiday treat may have gotten its famous red stripes from the Swedish town of Granna (the peppermint candy capital of the world). Peppermint candies with red stripes first appeared in the town in the mid-19th century. By the early 20th century, candy canes had the familiar red stripes and peppermint flavor as well.

We may never know the "true story" of the origin of the candy cane, history reveals that, most likely, it took several centuries and contributions for the candy cane to evolve into its current form. Now, candy canes are a traditional Christmas symbol sold as decor and candy offered in multiple colors, flavors, and sizes!