National Candy Cane Day
annually on December 26th
Popular during the holiday season, the candy cane is celebrated today. The cane-shaped hard candy is usually peppermint flavored, and white with red stripes, but can be of a variety of flavors and colors.
There is a lot of folklore surrounding the beginnings of the candy cane. Some say it was invented by priests in the 1400s, and was originally straight and solid-white in color. A popular legend claims that a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, bent straight sugar sticks into the shape of shepherd's staffs, and handed them out to children at living nativity services on Christmas Eve in 1670. There is a belief that candy canes then spread from Germany to the rest of Europe, where they were handed out at other nativity plays, leading to their association with Christmas. Another story says that in 1847 a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, asked a candy maker to add a crook to the canes to justify giving candy to children during worship services, to remind them of the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus. Imgard is also sometimes credited as being the first to put candy canes on trees.
Despite all the legends, here is what we know about candy canes for sure. The first recorded evidence of stick candy dates to 1837. A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks dates to 1844, and candy canes are mentioned in a book in 1866. Their earliest verified association with Christmas is 1874, and candy canes have been hung on trees since at least 1882. Candy canes with red stripes first came about in the early 1900s, and postcards before that time show only white colored candy canes. They were first made by hand, and patent machines for making them date to the early 1900s. Besides being associated with Christmas, they are handed out on Saint Nicholas Day.
How to Observe National Candy Cane Day
Maybe you were given a lot of candy canes for Christmas, or maybe since it is after Christmas, they are now on sale everywhere. That is great, because it will now be easier for you to celebrate the day! All you have to do is eat candy canes! If you are feeling extra festive, make your own.