Feliz Navidad, and hi there! This is your favorite wolf-Grrl Harriet Von Lupin, and guess what? We're doing The MonsterGrrls' 25 Days Of Christmas to celebrate our Solstice season with you guys! So pull up a chair 'cause I've got something cool for you today that always comes around Christmastime--the candy cane!
Believe it or not, the candy cane is actually close to 350 years old. Back in the seventeenth century, when people in Europe started to do Christmas trees as part of their celebration, most people made food items like cookies and candy for tree decorations. The first 'candy cane' was a straight white stick of hard candy.
In 1670, the Christmas celebration at the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, had pageants of living creches. The choirmaster there bent several of these first candy sticks into the shape of shepherd's crooks and gave them out as treats to kids who were attending the ceremonies. This tradition caught on (I mean, hey, free candy!) and pretty soon, it was regularly done at living creche ceremonies all over Europe.
In the 1800's candy canes spread to America when a German immigrant named August Imgard decorated his Christmas tree with them. Other people thought they were perfect for tree decorations, because around this time people were still making homemade decorations for their Christmas trees. The candy canes were still white back then too.
Nobody knows who came up with the stripes, but about fifty years later the first red-striped candy canes appeared. Christmas cards after 1900 showed these red-and-white-striped canes, and around the same time candymakers started adding the peppermint and wintergreen flavorings that we know today. The first guy to do mass marketing of candy canes in America was Bob MacCormack, who produced red-and-white-striped candy canes for Christmas in the 1920's.
A lot of people have attached religious significance to the candy cane, because of the shepherd's crook shape. It has been said that the candy cane was used as a secret symbol for Christianity during a period in the Victorian era when Queen Victoria actually outlawed Christmas in England for awhile! But people celebrated anyway, through the use of candy canes--all right under the Queen's nose!
Today, candy canes come in all kinds of colors and flavors, and hundreds of candy makers have their own recipes for these cool sweet treats. People still decorate their trees with them, and they've become the most popular and traditional Christmastime candy. So since it's Christmastime, pick up some candy canes and take part in a 350-year-old tradition of Christmas! And that's like being super-traditional!
Hey, don't forget to come back tomorrow for more of The MonsterGrrls' 25 Days Of Christmas! OWW-WOOOO!!!
Feliz Navidad to All,
Harriet Von Lupin