The Candy Cane: A Christmas Tradition

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The red and white striped candy cane is one of the most popular symbols of the Christmas season.

The legend of the sweet treats reveals that candy canes originated in Germany in the 17th century, making their way to America sometime in the mid-1800s.

Heavy on Christian symbolism, the holiday treat is rarely homemade any more, except in Lawrence, Mass. at Priscilla Candies. Harriet and Norman Cooper have owned and operated the family business for decades.

"In the course of a season, we make about 5,000 candy canes -- one at a time," Harriet said with a laugh.

Candy canes can range in size from twelve inches to three feet.

At Priscilla, candy canes are more than just a sweet holiday treat. At the company, the Christian symbolism is celebrated. The white part of the cane stands for the purity of Jesus Christ.

"The three small red stripes represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And the larger red stripe to represent the blood that Jesus shed for our sins," Harriet explained.

And the shape symbolizes the shepherd's staff. It's an important reminder for adults and children to remember during this hectic time of year.

"I'm hoping that the story of the candy canes stays with them. Sometimes it doesn't mean something to them right away as a child, but later down the line, I'm hoping they think back and say, 'Yes, I remember what that means," Harriet said.

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