The candy cane was invented around 350 years ago in Germany. It was originally straight and white. In 1670, a choir master in Germany bent them to look like shepherd’s staffs to hang easily on Christmas trees. The first historical reference to a candy cane in America is in 1847 when a man in Wooster, Ohio hung them on his tree. The stripes were added sometime around 1900. Although stories of an Indiana candy maker making the candy cane to incorporate symbols of Christianity aren’t true, the candy cane can still be used to teach about Jesus.
The candy cane starts with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and the firmness of the promises of God.
The cane is formed into a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to the earth as Savior. It could also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down to reclaim the fallen lambs who, like sheep, have gone astray.
The candy cane is stained with red stripes. Three small stripes show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received. The large red stripe symbolizes the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.