It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We all look forward to this time of the year, and to the many traditions surrounding it. But have you ever wondered what the origins of these traditions are? Why do we put up Christmas lights? Why do we drink eggnog? Why do we kiss beneath the mistletoe? Why do we hang stockings? At CrACKLES, we’ve crafted soft, gooey, chewy, crispy rice and marshmallow treats to remind you of two of your favourite holiday traditions…the “Merry Christmas Tree-t” and the “Colossal Candy Cane”.
So just how did the Christmas tree become a holiday tradition? Its history actually goes back to ancient times when evergreen boughs were used to decorate homes during the Winter Solstice as a symbol of the spring to come, when the sun god would regain strength and glow again. It’s unknown exactly when these pagan traditions evolved into the Christmas tree tradition we know today because several countries claim to be the birthplace of the Christmas tree and therefore there are competing mythologies. But, most historians agree that the Christmas tree as we know it was born in the 16th century in the Alsace region of France, which was German territory at that time. Historical records indicate that the first Christmas tree was raised in the Strasbourg Cathedral in 1539. The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree soon caught on with German families and by the 18th century, it was practiced all over Europe. As for the tradition of decorating trees, it is usually credited to the German Protestant reformer Martin Luther. Walking home one winter night after composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of the stars in the sky twinkling through the evergreens. Wanting to recreate the image for his family, he put up a tree and added lighted candles on its branches. It was then thanks to Queen Victoria and her German husband Prince Albert, that the Christmas tree tradition was popularized throughout the world when in 1848, the Illustrated London News published an illustration of their family gathered around a decorated Christmas tree. The tradition also found its way to the U.S. and with the influx of German immigrants in the 1800s, it eventually became an American tradition too.
What about candy canes? Legend has it that candy canes date back to 1670 when a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out candy sticks to keep the children quiet during a live performance of the nativity scene. He had a local candy maker shape them to resemble a shepherd’s crook, in reference to Jesus as the “good shepherd” holding his crook while tending to his flock of sheep. Originally, candy canes were only white. The red stripes came around the turn of the 20th century, and while there are legends and stories behind the meaning of the stripes, it is more likely that they were simply a result of good marketing.
Now here’s a fun fact: according to the National Confectioners Association, 58% of Americans eat the straight end of a candy cane first, 30% eat the curved end first, and 12% break the candy cane into pieces first. So the question is, how are YOU going to eat your CrACKLES Colossal Candy Cane?! We guarantee you that any way you choose, it will become one of your favourite Christmas traditions!
Sweet wishes for the holiday season from the CrACKLES kitchen.
- the CrACKLES team -