National Candy Cane Day

Dan General

candy cane
Cathy Isom has some fun facts about a popular Christmas candy. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

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Since the 1800’s the candy cane has been making an appearance on Christmas trees. The first recipe for a straight peppermint candy stick, which was white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. National Candy Cane Day is observed across the U.S. each year on the day after Christmas. So it’s only appropriate we enjoy some fun facts about this popular Christmas candy.The average candy cane is 5 inches tall.
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While most candy canes are not sugar or calorie free, they do not have any fat or cholesterol. Striped red and white candy canes were first introduced in 1900.  The first machine to make candy canes was invented in 1921 by Brasher O. Westerfield. Until then, they were made by hand. Traditionally the flavor for candy canes is peppermint, but there are a variety of flavors. A Geneva pastry chef, holds the Guinness World Record for the longest candy cane, measuring 51 feet long.

Over 1 and a half BILLION candy canes are made each year, with nearly 2 BILLION sold in the two weeks before Christmas and Hanukkah.

From: Days of the Year

A lot of things have their own day dedicated to them; one you may not have known about is the candy cane. Yes, this veritable symbol of tasty festivity has a dedicated day, so if you ever needed an excuse to stockpile them or indulge, now you have one. So let the deliciousness begin!

The History of Candy Cane Day

candy-canes-3Candy canes are so ubiquitous during the holiday season that they are practically considered part of Christmas itself. However, very few people know when, where or how candy canes came into existence, though it is a very interesting story. According to German folklore, the first candy canes were made in the 17th century when a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, needed to find a way to keep the children quiet during the exceptionally long Christmas Eve Mass. So he ordered peppermint-flavored candy sticks from a local confectioner, but with a few twists of his own, steeping them in religious symbolism. Firstly, he requested the sticks to be on the shape we know them so they could be a visual representation of sorts of the canes that the shepherds coming to visit the baby Jesus might have had. Some also say that when turned upside-down, the candy cane becomes the letter J, which stands for Jesus. Furthermore, the choirmaster asked for the sticks to be white (to represent the sinless, pure life Jesus lived) and red (to represent the blood Jesus lost when he was crucified for the sins of mankind). Of course, there is no solid evidence for this, and modern candy cane historians, or whoever looked into it, have disputed the ideas presented here. Luckily, however, you can enjoy the candy cane on its special day with or without this kind of expert knowledge.

How to Celebrate Candy Cane Day

It is quite hard to make your own candy canes if you are not an experienced confectioner and chances are that attempts will result in more of a mess than anything else. That’s why we’re not going to give you a candy cane recipe, but rather a recipe for something that can be easily made using candy canes, that is both pretty and delicious, and will be the perfect addition to your holiday desserts table: Peppermint Bark.

Learn more and get the recipe for Peppermint Bark.