There are many possible origins of the Candy Cane becoming part of our Christmas tradition.
When decorating Christmas trees in Europe became popular, food items like cookies and candy were often used. Straight, white sticks of sugar candy were created and hung on the tree.
It is said that as part of the Christmas celebration at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany there were pagents of living creches. Around 1670 the choirmaster at the Cathedral had sticks of candy bent into the shape of a shepherd’s crook and passed them out to children who attended the ceremonies. This became a popular tradition, and eventually the practice of passing out the sugar canes at living creche ceremonies spread throughout Europe.
The tradition of Candy Canes made it's way to America in the 1800s with German immigrants. Prior to 1900 the Candy Canes were pure white. It was not until the 20th century that the red stripe shows up.
It may also be said that there is religious meaning to the shape and form of the candy cane. Some say that its shape is like the letter “J” in Jesus. It is also in the shape of the shepherds’ crook.
The color white of the candy cane may represent the purity of Jesus. The deep red stripe may represent God’s love.
Today Candy Canes remain popular. Not only available in the tradition red and white with peppermint flavor, they now come in just about every color and flavor.