When children open their stockings on Christmas morning, it’s quite common for a candy cane to be amongst the goodies therein. I was never quite sure why there was always one in mine since I’ve never liked the things, but, tradition will out.
Hard candy sticks have been around for centuries, but it was in 1670 that the choirmaster of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral first bent some into canes to represent a shepherd’s crook and handed them out to children during nativity services. Other churches, and other countries, took up the practice, which later expanded to putting candy canes in stockings, and using them as decorations on Christmas trees. Up until about 1900, they were pure white, but after that took on the striped appearance they have today. Peppermint flavouring was added at about the same time.