December 9 – Candy Canes
Candy canes were invented over 350 years ago, when candy-makers both professional and amateur were making hard sugar sticks. The original candy was straight and completely white in color. In the 1600′s European-Christians started using Christmas trees in their celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy.
In 1670 the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services. The custom of handing out white candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The new staff-shape made it easier to hang candy canes as decorations on Christmas trees. The candy cane reached America by 1847 when a German immigrant, August Imgard, first decorated his home Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio with candy canes. About 50 years later the first red-and white candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards before 1900 show only all-white candy canes, whereas Christmas cards after show drawings of striped candy canes. A Catholic priest, Gregory Keller, invented a machine to automate candy cane production during the 1950′s. Up until then they were all laboriously made by hand.