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Follow the Stripes

One of the most beloved sweet treats of the Christmas season is the Candy Cane. Unless you prefer to not eat the sugary sticky sweetness, I’m sure you’ve had your share over the years. I mean, who hasn’t decorated their Christmas trees with them?

The traditional candy is dated back to around 350 years ago. Originally it didn’t have a hook and was white, consisting of a sugary flavor.

It’s said that a choirmaster from the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out the candy to choirboys to keep them quiet during the Living Creche ceremony in 1670. He bent a hook in them to favor a shepherd's hook and quiet the leadership’s concerns of handing out the candy. The candy canes were given out to the children who attended the ceremonies, which later became a popular tradition throughout America and Europe.

In the early 1900s, the red stripe started showing up in the candy canes and were made by hand which was labor intensive. Gregory Keller invented a machine in the 1950s that made the production of candy canes more streamline. And now we have them in multiple colors and flavors. Thank you Gregory!

When it comes to Christmas, there's an opportunity to connect things and themes on a spiritual level as well. Some see the red to represent Jesus' blood and the white to represent the purity of Jesus. When you see the three fine strips, it’s believed to represent the Holy Trinity. Others also see the “j” to represent Jesus. The peppermint flavor is symbolic of the herb hyssop, which has medicinal purposes. Hyssop also has an Old Testament reference to being cleansed. And hyssop was the stalk that the vinegar soaked sponge was given to Jesus before his last words and death on the cross.

And so we see the multiple storylines in which this beloved candy has come from. May all your holiday times be filled with great joy.


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