Frontline Faith: Legend of the Candy Cane


Jessica Kuznicki, Copy Editor

Ah, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with the lights, trees, music, and of course we can’t forget holiday sweets. Candy canes are a crucial part of the Christmas tradition and they are scattered everywhere in our culture this season. But how much do you really know about this delicious peppermint treat?

There’s an old story about the candy cane Christians pass down by word of mouth each year, an old legend best told curled up by a warm fireplace on a cold and wintry night.

Once upon a time in a land far far away, somewhere in Europe, people were arrested for telling others about Jesus. Christians were being persecuted for their faith. The rules were simple, if you want to live happily and peacefully then don’t be a Christian.

This seemed to be okay for most people in town, but for one man in particular this posed as a major threat. He was a candy maker who longed to share his faith with others, so in secret he designed a candy that would do just that.

First, he made it out hyssop, a hard candy similar to peppermint to represent how Jesus is the solid rock of our salvation.

Next, he shaped it as a shepherd’s crook because Jesus is the good shepherd. Of course, if you turn a shepherd’s staff upside down, then what letter of the alphabet is it?

The wide red stripes represent the blood of Jesus who was crucified for our sins. The three smaller red stripes close together symbolism the Godhead or how God is three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The white color is for purity, how Jesus was pure and sinless. White is also for the virgin birth. Finally, how you break the cane as you eat it represents how Christ’s body was broken on the cross for us.  

Being a legend, there are no historical records to prove this story true. However, the Biblical connection is still evident for all who open their eyes to it. People have always passed on stories by word of mouth with no documentation. Legends told and retold orally like the one behind the candy cane are a dying tradition. In our culture today, it’s important to continue traditions of retelling legendary stories. But for now at least, the candy cane legend lives on.

The meaning behind the candy cane is a hidden secret, but according to legend it was designed that way on purpose. The candy cane is made to share the love of Jesus with someone who might not know the true meaning of Christmas. So when you give someone a candy cane, you’re actually sharing  your Christian faith with them, whether you realized it or not.

Legend of the Candy Cane Poem

Look at the Candy Cane

What do you see?

Stripes that are red

Like the blood shed for me

White is for my Savior

Who’s sinless and pure!

“J” is for Jesus my Lord, that’s for sure!

Turn it around

And a staff you will see

Jesus my shepherd

Was born for me!

  • Author Unknown