The Hilarious Theory For Why Candy Canes Became A Christmas Tradition

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house people were laughing ... at how strangely comical the legend of the origin of candy canes is because it's really quite cute. Candy canes have become an enduring symbol of the winter season and of the many end-of-year holidays and traditions that fill hearts with joy. They come in lots of fabulous flavors and crazy colors (sometimes even in wacky shapes and sizes as well), and they're so prevalent that if you told someone that they just grew right off of your Christmas tree, they might believe you. 

Well, the story goes, according to the Kitchn, that back in 1670, children were just as rambunctious and unable to sit still as they are today, and church services everywhere were falling victim to the random rustlings of restless children. So in an attempt to promote some peace and quiet amongst the kids, a choir leader at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany began to bride the children with hard candies. Stick candies, to be precise. But because candy was not typically a staple at Christmas mass, he asked the candy maker to add a little crook at the end to represent the symbolic shepherds' staffs in order to keep everything proper and on brand.

Fact or Fiction

As cute of a story as it is, there are no historical sources that prove it to be true, per The Smithsonian Magazine. Given the lack of evidence and Christianity's habit of associating basic holiday traditions with their own name tag, as stated by Today I Found Out, this story has been thoroughly debunked. The first recorded mention of candy canes is from 1847, in which August Imgard, a German immigrant, decorated a "small blue spruce with paper ornaments and candy canes."

The existence of long white stick candies is well documented, and stick candies have been a common confection for centuries, but the distinctive hooked shape and the red and white coloring of the candy canes are newer additions. The modern candy canes that we know and love today started appearing with regularity in the late 20th century, as noted by Today I Found Out, but the exact origins of the shape and colors still remain a mystery.