The candy cane is the definitive candy symbol of Christmas. Legend has it that the choirmaster of Cologne Cathedral invented the first candy cane in 1670. He supposedly handed them out to his choir boys to keep them quiet during the long Christmas rites. In honor of the occasion, he made them in the shape of a shepard's crook (the image is of Jesus as the Shepard and humanity as lost sheep). The choirmaster dyed part of the canes red for the blood of Christ; he left the rest of the canes white to symbolize purity and redemption.
Bob McCormack, from Albany, Georgia, started marketing candy canes on a local scale in the early 1920s. Making the candy by hand is such a difficult process that he was only able to make enough to sell to the people in his town. It wasn't until the 19502 the McCormack's brother-in-law, the Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine to mass produce candy canes. The two of them started Bob's Candies, which is still the world's largest producer of candy canes to this day.