The development of the candy cane took a few hundred years. Before the invention of the modern pacifier, parents used to give their babies unflavored white sugar sticks to suck on. During the 1670's a German choirmaster had the sugar sticks bent into a shepherd's staff and passed out to children attending the Christmas services. This holiday custom spread throughout Europe. About 1900 the white candy cane received its traditional red stripes and peppermint flavoring. At the same time the legend of the candy cane came into being. According to this legend, a candy maker in Indiana designed the candy cane to tell the true story of Christmas - a story about a virgin giving birth to a shepherd who would give up His life for the sheep.

The most obvious symbolism used in the candy cane is its shape. Turned one way, candy canes remind us of the shepherd's staff). Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and the Bible frequently compares His actions to those of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep

The hardness of the candy reminds us that Jesus is our rock. Rocks also remind us of the solidness of the promises of Christ who is a precious cornerstone and sure foundation to those who follow Him.

The whiteness of the candy brings to mind the Virgin Birth and the sinless life of Christ. We also are made as pure as the snow through His death on the cross.

The traditional candy cane has 3 small red stripes to remind us that before Jesus was crucified he was whipped and beaten and a larger stripe which represents the blood shed by Christ on Calvary's Cross. A green stripe is sometimes placed on candy canes to remind us that Jesus is God's gift to us. (Green is the color of giving.)