Around the middle of Lent — the longest and strictest time for all Christians — comes Bretzelsonndeg or Pretzel Sunday. The feast always takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent, hence its name, though it can fall on any date.
On this day in Luxembourg men traditionally give a pretzel to their beloved. If the feeling is mutual, then on Easter the girl will give an egg in return to her lover. Otherwise, the unhappy lover will receive an empty basket. In leap years, everything happens the other way around: the lady gives a pretzel, and the man decides whether to respond to her confession with an egg or an empty basket.
In Luxembourg, Pretzel Sunday dates back to the 18th century and is associated with the celebration of Buergbrennen. It is believed that on this celebration girls tossed wood into the fire and shouted out the names of the young men they liked. And the people that were mentioned on Bretzelsonndeg gave their beloved a pretzel with a suggestion of a future relationship.
The wonderful tradition of exchanging pretzels and Easter eggs in Luxembourg gives both young people and couples in love a lot of positive emotions. To participate, you can buy or bake any pretzel — glazed, with almonds or salt — and give it to the chosen one (or to the chosen one in a leap year).
It is believed that the larger the pretzel is, the stronger the love of the giver.
However, it is no accident that Pretzel Sunday falls in the middle of Lent! The holiday has a religious connotation too. In many European countries, ritual baked goods in the form of pretzels have been known since the Middle Ages. However, the history of its appearance is not fully known.
One legend has it that the shape of the pretzel was inspired by the praying hands of the praying people; another version has it that the religious symbolism appears through the three holes of the pretzel, which refer to the faces of the Holy Trinity.
Originally pretzels were made from flour, water, and salt, without eggs, fat, or milk, so that such baked goods could be eaten during Lent. Pretzels grew in popularity throughout Europe as a symbol of good fortune during the Middle Ages. At the same time, they were usually given to the poor.
It was not until the 17th century that the pretzel acquired a new meaning. Around this time, presumably in Switzerland, couples began to use it as a symbol of love in their wedding ceremonies.
Anyway, today the twisted pastry of distinctive shape is known not only as a symbol of the bakery, often depicted on its signs but also as a true symbol of love on Bretsel's Day.
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