Candy Canes can be found everywhere at Christmastime as sugary treats and ornaments. Two different stories tell of the origin of candy canes.

One legend claims that the candy cane originated centuries ago as a sweet reward for children who behaved well in church — or who learned their prayers. This story claims that candy canes were invented in the 17th century and were straight white sticks of sugar candy used for decorating Christmas trees. It is said that around the late 1600s, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral persuaded candy makers to bend the sticks of candy at the end to symbolize the shepherd’s crook. He passed the candy canes out to boys and girls who were quiet during the long Living Nativity ceremony at Christmas time.The custom spread quickly throughout Europe.

No one knows for sure when candy canes became red and white striped, but they appeared this way on Christmas cards in the early 20th century.

Another story has candy canes beginning with a candy maker from Indiana around the turn of the 20th century. He wanted to invent a candy that was a witness to Christ and the result was the candy cane. He chose a hard candy because Christ is the rock of ages and made it in the shape of a shepherd’s staff to symbolize the “Good Shepherd.”

No matter which story you believe, it is a certain that the candy cane had a Christian beginning.

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