Traditions: Lenten Pretzel Making

If you haven’t gathered already, Ali is slightly obsessed with traditions. I’m happy to say this has rubbed off on me a bit, though I’m still on the sane side of things. So when the planets aligned and Story and I were able to take part in our church’s tradition of making Lenten pretzels, I enthusiastically signed us up. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Lent, it is a period of prayer and fasting leading up to Easter. These days, many people choose to give up something they enjoy (such as chocolate!) in lieu of full-out fasting. But it is with fasting that our story of the Lenten pretzel begins. And you know I love a good story.

Back in the 600s, those participating in Lent fasted by removing all eggs, milk, butter, cream, cheese, and fats from their diets. Monks made bread with only flour, water, and salt. It is said that a young monk made such a batch of bread

dough and rolled it out into the shape of a rope. He then twisted it into a shape that resembled the common prayer position of the day — crossing your arms over each other with your hands on opposite shoulders — thus combining the prayer and fasting elements of Lent. He baked it as a soft bread, and the pretzel was born. He have the pretzels to children as a reward for learning their prayers, calling them pretiola, which meant “little rewards.”

Story and I joined the others in shaping our own pretzels from this basic dough, and it was a bit of a challenge, I must say. However, we both had a blast, and Story very much enjoyed eating her creation. We were also encouraged to make a pretzel to share, and Story was eager to share both the story and the pretzel with her best friend.

Such an enjoyable and meaningful event makes for the perfect tradition, and it will definitely be on our calendars next year.

Do you have any springtime traditions to share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!