Have you ever held a candy cane in your hand and found yourself wondering how the treat as we know it today got its origin? While candy canes have been around for hundreds of years, folklore says they haven't always looked the way they do today. What's more is that candy canes haven't always had a hooked shape, and they haven't always had red swirls.

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When they were first introduced, candy canes were straight sticks, they were all white, completely void of color, and they didn't have a hook on the top. If we look at old Christmas cards from the late 19th century, there's an indication that people at that time decorated for Christmas with an all-white hooked candy cane, but then when the early 20th century rolled around, candy canes started showing up on Christmas cards with red stripes.

So, how did candy canes go from a boring straight stick to a curved white stick, to the curved red and white candy that we love to munch on today?

One story says that when it started becoming popular for people in Europe to show off  Christmas trees in their homes in the late 1600s, people were looking for something to decorate their trees with. Rumor has it there was a choirmaster who revolutionized the candy as we know it. The choirmaster was from Germany and was the first to put the hooks on the canes to make them look more like a shepherd’s staff (and maybe even to make it easier for the candy to hang from the tree).

Many people also believe that the hook represents the 'J' in the name 'Jesus' and that it serves as a symbol of the story of how Jesus, like the “Good Shepherd,” watches over his flock, however. This theory has never been confirmed though and neither has the idea that the choirmaster was the first to put hooks on the candy canes. 

Regardless of who first made the candy cane, it soon became a tradition to not only hang them from the family Christmas tree, but also to give them out to kids during the Christmas season, a tradition that remains strong to this day.

[via NoelNoelNoel/Today I Found Out/Inventors]