The Candy Cane

Did you know that the candy cane was actually a Catholic object of piety? Yes, this common Christmas ornament and treat was originally used to help remind of us of the reason for the great Holy Day in the church and in the world.

Now everyone knows what a candy cane looks like, right? Well, it’s a hard stick of white candy - with red stripes twirling around it (like a barber pole), and its got a bend at the top (like a cane).

Now, there are different elements of this Christmas candy that are appropriately filled with Catholic symbolism.

First, the colors: The white of the cane symbolizes the purity of the Christ Child. And the stripes of red are there to remind us of the precious Blood the little Infant would one day shed for the salvation of mankind. On some candy canes, there is a group of 3 thin stripes which alternate with the classic, broad, red band around the cane. The trio of stripes represent the Holy Trinity - with the classic red stripe still symbolizing the blood of Christ.

Second, the shape: If you hold it in the standard way, like a cane, you will see that it is in fact like a staff - for Jesus as the Good Shepherd. And if you take the cane and turn it upside down - it is no longer a cane, but the letter ‘J’ - the initial of Jesus’ most Holy Name.

And lastly, even the very substance of the candy cane is significant. It’s solid like a rock - like the foundation of the Catholic Church - and the Word of Christ.