by: Kuya Kiko
I love pretzels, especially the ones coated with chocolates! And who doesn’t? We grew up with it when we were kids and the same can be said with our parents and grandparents!
According to our Catholic tradition, it was the Italian monks who invented pretzels during the early 7th century- apologies to the Germans, but pretzels did not come from Germany. It was said that when older monks would teach their younger brother novices, as well as small children, how to pray, they would teach them first how to bake dough twisted in the shape of crossed arms, which is an old, classic monastic praying posture. Pretzels were originally called “pretiolas” which means, “little prizes,” they give it as small rewards for kids who had successfully memorized their prayers. Still, some would say that they were originally called “bracellae” which means, “tiny arms” or “little arms” which is where we got the word “brezel” from.
Pretzels are used to be regarded as classic Lenten treats too, because it is made only of flour, water, and salt, with no dairy or eggs on it. Tradition also gave the pretzels it’s extra spiritual meaning: the three holes in it came to represent the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And so as the custom spread from Italy to the rest of Europe, pretzels didn’t just become a great, unique and easy way of getting a full stomach, it eventually became associated with long life and prosperity for Christians during that time.
So there! Another historical truth that will make us proud as Catholics! Enjoy your pretzels with your loved ones and tell them about its Catholic origins and its significance in our Christian life and belief! God bless everyone! Until next time!
Totus Tuus Maria!