St. Matthew > The Candy Cane Story

The Candy Cane Story

Early European Christians made special decorations for their Christmas trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy. The first historical reference to the cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff. The first mention of the candy cane being used in America goes back to 1847, when a German immigrant, August Imgard, decorated his tree in Wooster, Ohio with the confections.
About fifty years later, the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes.
The candy cane incorporates several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ. White to symbolize the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and the hard candy to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and the firmness of the promises of God. The shape of a J represents the precious name of Jesus, who came to the earth as Savior. It could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd. The three small red stripes show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received. The large red stripe is for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we can have the promise of eternal life.