The Candy Cane: More Than Meets the Eye

By Monique Sammut | December 24, 2018
Candy Cane Legends

The origins of the Candy Cane are uncertain and shrouded in legend.  One legend says a choirmaster invented a ‘J’ shaped candy to remind the children in the choir of Jesus and to keep them quiet during the long Christmas service.

In The Candymaker’s Gift by Helen and David Haidle, a candy maker wants to invent a candy that will remind children of the true meaning of Christmas.

Fundamentally, each of the legends tells the same story.  Most revolve around a candy maker who wanted to make a special kind of Christmas candy and remind everyone of Jesus, the reason for the special season of Christmas.  He began with a stick of hard, white candy.  Then he twisted the candy to form a ‘J’ and a shepherd’s staff.  To brighten up the white candy, the candy maker added red stripes – large ones and small ones.

Hidden Meaning

Although the meaning has been mostly forgotten, each candy cane contains hidden significance.

The hard candy symbolizes Jesus’ strength, dependability, and unfailing love.

The white candy represents purity and the holiness and sinless nature of Jesus.  It can also symbolize the forgiveness we receive from God that makes our souls white.

The cane shape can remind us of Jesus, the Good Shepherd who is always present to guide and protect us.

If you turn the candy cane upside down (or right side up) the letter ‘J’ is formed – J for Jesus!

Traditional candy canes have a peppermint flavor.  This can remind us of the spices that the three Wise Men brought to Jesus.

The color red reminds us of the merciful and unending love of God – who is Love!  Red can also remind us of the blood of Jesus, shed to save and purify us from our sins.

The large stripes can represent the cross of Jesus while the small stripes can represent the whip on his back, the crown of thorns on his head, and the nail wounds in his hands and feet.

A Sweet Reminder

Although the candy cane may be a legend, the truth it can symbolize is not!  Every Christmas we should be reminded of the great love God has for each one of us!  My associate pastor pointed out in a homily recently, that most babies are born to live but baby Jesus was born to die.  The sole purpose of the coming of Jesus was to save us from our sins.  Even if only one person on earth needed redemption, Jesus still would have come and died.

So, as you see and enjoy candy canes, remember the sweet truth that you are loved by God for all eternity!

“Be joyful this Christmas.  Don’t fuss or complain.  Remember God’s LOVE with this sweet candy cane.”  – Helen Haidle