Legend is that hundreds of year later a candy maker in Indiana decided to use these treats as a way to communicate the real meaning of Christmas. He added a large red stripe to represent Christ's blood shed on the cross. He also added smaller red stripes as symbols of the lashes on Jesus' back caused by the soldier's whips and to remind us of Isaiah 53:5.
". . . by His stripes we are healed."
The original white color represented the pure life Jesus lived.
Even the flavor had symbolism. Peppermint is meant to bring to mind hyssop which was the Old Testament plant used in sacrifices. This represents Jesus being the perfect sacrifice for our sins. The hardness of the candy reminds us that Jesus is the Rock of our salvation.
Want more? The bend in the cane reminds us of a shepard's crook and the shepards were the first to learn of the Savior's birth. If you turn it upside down it is a J - for Jesus.
"taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8)