Raising Cane: Putting the Candy in Christmas
By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today
Has someone handed you a candy cane, along with some yuletide greetings this Christmas season? Maybe you grabbed one from the holiday candy dish placed around many homes and businesses this time of year?
No doubt, you’ve found yourself twirling one around in your mouth enjoying that peppermint flavor that brings you back to childhood and this special time of year.
Have you ever wondered where this swirled, hook-shaped sweet got its beginning? The candy cane’s genesis is found with a German choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral back in 1670. It seems, while everyone in the congregation adored the musical renderings of their sweet children, particularly during the Christmas season, the choirmaster found it difficult to keep them quiet during the long church services.
His remedy to all that fidgeting and distraction was to put something in their mouths during the time when joyous carols were not coming forth. So, he gave the children who sang in his choir sugar sticks. In honor of the occasion, he had the candies bent into shepherds’ staffs, as a tribute to the flock-tenders in the fields on that first Christmas night. For it was the shepherds who heard the angels’ chorus, and came to worship at the crib of the newborn King.
And while providing children with a dose of pure white sugar during church services can be a bit risky, the idea that this peppermint delight actually honors the reason for the season is a beautiful tribute. So to celebrate this simple treat, here are some candy cane facts. Just some to think about when you’re sucking on one of these Christmas goodies! Enjoy!
- For 200 years, the candy cane came only in one color: white
- National Candy Cane Day is celebrated on December 26.
- The traditional candy cane flavor is peppermint, however, it is also made in a variety of other flavors and colored stripes.
- Geneva pastry chef Alain Roby broke his third Guinness World Record by creating the world’s longest candy cane, measuring at 51 feet long.
- Today, the candy cane makes up a significant amount of the $1.4 billion Christmas candy market. Nearly 2 billion candy canes will be sold in the four weeks before Christmas and Hanukkah
- During the manufacturing process, the candy is kept warm so it will not harden. It is placed in wrappers, shaped and the heat of the candy shrinks the plastic wrappers, which allows that tight fit around the staff-shaped treat. The box that candy canes are shipped in is called a cradle.