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Sweet facts

Posted: December 16, 2011 3:05 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Candy canes are very popular holiday treats and are often used to decorate Christmas trees. That hooked shape certainly makes them whimsical and able to hang on tree boughs. But candy canes weren't always the curved and colorful treats they are today. In the 1700s, candy canes were nothing more than straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorate Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided that having the ends bent to depict a shepherd's crook and passing them out during church services would help keep children quiet. It was not until roughly the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes. Some surmise that the candy cane is shaped like a shepherd's crook to represent Jesus Christ, who tended to his flock of supporters. Others say that it's a "J" for Jesus. Regardless of their shape, hundreds of thousands of candy canes are now manufactured and shipped for the holiday season each year.

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