Traditional Program News

Pretzel and Prayer - A Lenten Celebration

Posted on February 13 2013

Pretzels and lent? Isn’t that pretzels and beer?

As far back as the fourth century, these small breads were baked to nourish people during lent. A very strict fast was kept every day of lent. No milk, no butter, no cheese, no eggs, and no meat passed the people’s lips. Only one meal was consumed. However, small snacks to keep up one’s strength (remember the people did hard manual labor) could be eaten throughout the day. These small breads were made of water, flour and salt. To remind the faithful that lent was a time of prayer (as if eating so little was not enough of a reminder!), the bread was shaped in the form of crossed arms. In the culture of that time, people stood and prayed with their arms crossed over on their chests. The name for these breads was “little arms” or bracellae in Latin. When the Germanic tribes migrated, the name bretzel was used which was mutated into “pretzel.” There are many legends as to the origins of the pretzel and even a variety of practices today. Some countries only sell pretzels during lent!

When you are on campus at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family during lent, look for a table (one on the first floor across from the Student Life office, and one on the second floor outside of the Advancement Office) with prayer booklets and a bowl of pretzels, each woven with a small slip of paper that contains a prayer.

Take a prayer slip. Take a pretzel.
Pray the prayer. Eat the pretzel.
Celebrate God’s goodness.