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Candy canes
The sale of confections during the Yule season actually lags behind Easter and Halloween, most likely because people are making their own! However, that tendency has not put a dent in the ever popular candy cane.
This particular treat owes its beginning to hard candy sticks, many of which were originally used for medicine. Basically the sweet covered up unsavory components. Candy canes must be pulled, similarly to taffy, and we know that techniques for this approach existed as early as the 1500s and likely before that (as that was the first written account).
The story goes that the candy cane was made first in Germany and utilized by a choir director. He gave the canes out to help keep the young people from talking during Church (and neatly keep their throats soothed!).

Sometime in the 1800s this confection made its way onto Christmas trees, followed by cards and wrapping paper in the 1900s. However, it wasn’t until very recently that the cane had it’s stripes!
There has been some argument about the shape of the cane and whether it’s symbolic. Some say it represents the J in Jesus. Others claim it’s meant to look like a Shepherd’s crook.

The original white candy cane was symbolic of purity. When the red stripe was added, that was love, and when three red stripes appeared it was considered a symbol of the Trinity. While all this sounds very contrived, it really isn’t. In fact, these associations are Urban Legends.
No matter the reason for the candy cane, by the 1950s Gregory Keller, a priest, had devised automated candy cane production. The rest, as they say, is history!


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