The History of the Pretzel   1 comment

Steve was reading the box of some frozen pretzels that I got from Whole Foods yesterday.  They had written a history of the pretzel, which we further investigated.  Low and behold we found out some interesting facts about pretzels!  Here you go:

The History of the Pretzel

610 A.D.

An Italian monk, his name now lost to history, decided to reward his students by serving them baked scraps of leftover dough. He rolled and twisted the dough to resemble his students, who folded their arms across their chests when praying. After baking the dough to a golden brown, he called the finished product “pretiolas,” Latin for “little rewards.”

A good idea like this one didn’t take long to catch on – “pretiolas” spread throughout Europe and were considered a symbol of good luck, long life, and prosperity. German children, for instance, wore them around their necks to celebrate the New Year, and it wasn’t long before they began adorning the tops of Christmas trees.


A group of Turkish invaders sought to mount a sneak attack against the city of Vienna, Austria, by digging tunnels underneath the walls. But pretzel bakers heard the commotion, sounded the alarm, and grabbed their weapons to help fight off the attack. Their actions were rewarded with a seal that included a depiction of a pretzel.


The German tradition of eating pretzels during Good Friday dinner is introduced.

The classic pretzel’s three-hole shape begins to take form. The three holes represent the Christian trinity of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and pretzels are thought to bring luck, prosperity, and spiritual wholeness.

The wedding phrase “tying the knot” got its start when a pretzel was used to tie the knot between two prominent families. The pretzel’s loops stood for everlasting love.


Hard pretzels were discovered by mistake, when a bakers’ apprentice fell asleep by the furnace and let the treats bake “too long.” At first, the master baker was mad at his apprentice for his carelessness, but upon tasting these pretzels, quickly realized he had an opportunity for something big.


Pretzels may have made their way to the United States on the Mayflower. It is said that the Pilgrims used to be able to trade pretzels with the Native Americans for just about anything. And who could blame them?


Immigrants from around Europe came to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and brought their pretzel recipes with them.


The first American hard pretzel factory was opened in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The artisans of the day rolled, baked, and salted pretzels by hand.

ht: Auntie Annes

Other sources of pretzel history:

The Kitchen Project

Pretzel History

Posted March 18, 2007 by Lana G! in Christianity, Food, History, Random

One response to “The History of the Pretzel

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  1. Pingback: » Blog Archive » The History & Theology of Pretzel

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