In 1670, a German choirmaster gave his young singers white sugar sticks to keep them quiet during the long Nativity service. In honor of the occasion, he bent the sticks to resemble shepherd's crooks. It wasn't until the 20th century that candy makers added red stripes and peppermint flavoring. Christian legend claims the white symbolizes Christ's purity, the red stands for his blood, and the peppermint represents the gifts of spices brought by the wise men. The hardness is a reminder that Jesus is the rock and foundation of the church.