Pretzel Day, also known as National Pretzel Day, is a holiday which is celebrated every year on April 26th. It’s a day in which people celebrate the pretzel – a snack that has been enjoyed since the Middle Ages. On this day, people enjoy pretzels in all their forms and discuss which variety is better, hard or soft pretzels.
History of Pretzel Day
In order to full appreciate Pretzel Day, you first have to dig down to the origins of the pretzel. Which, according to myth, can be traced back to 7th century Italy. Supposedly, this is when monks baked little pieces of dough to give out as rewards to children who memorized their prayers. However, this version of the pretzel origin is currently unconfirmed and there really is no evidence to support it. In order to obtain the first recorded evidence of the pretzel, you have to travel to 12th century Germany. During this time, the pretzel was incorporated into the crests of German baker’s guilds in 1111.
Eventually, pretzels would become known as a symbol of good luck. So much so, in fact, that German children often hung pretzels around their necks to celebrate New Years and pretzels were used to decorate Christmas trees. They were such a prominent symbol of good luck, probably because they were associated with Christianity.
By the 1500s, it became common for people to eat pretzels in Germany on Good Friday. Some people say that the pretzel was invented to be used as a food for Lent and the peculiar shape of pretzels represents either people folding their hands in pray or the three knots of the Holy Trinity. While no one really knows if this is true or not, one thing that is known is that pretzels became a popular food for Lent.
During the 18th century, pretzels traveled with Germany immigrants as they immigrated to the United States. The German immigrants became known as Pennsylvanian Dutch and many of them began to open bakeries all over Pennsylvania to sell bread products. Included in these bread products were pretzels, which became a popular American treat. And Pennsylvania established itself as the main producer of pretzels in North America. Even today, more than three-fourths of all pretzels made in the United States are made in Pennsylvania.
Until the 1930s, pretzels were handmade by American workers. These workers are reputed to have hand-twisted up to 40 pretzels every single minute. However, automation would eventually hit the market when the the first automated pretzel machine was introduced in 1935 by the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company. This machine enabled bakeries to make almost 250 pretzels a minute.
Because of the popularity of pretzels in Pennsylvania, National Pretzel Day was established by a declaration by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell in 2003. It has since been celebrated by pretzel enthusiasts all over the United States and even the world.
- $550 Million Dollars of Pretzels Are Sold in The United States Annually
- The Largest Pretzel on Record is 26.8-Feet Long and Weighed Over 840 Pounds
- The Average American Eats 2-Pounds of Pretzels Each Year
- The Average Pennsylvanian Eats Over 12-Pounds Each Year
- Pretzels Without Salt are Called Baldies
Celebrating Pretzel Day
One of the best ways to celebrate this holiday is head out to your favorite bakery or pretzel store and pick up your favorite type of pretzel. Many pretzel shops and bakeries offer free pretzels to people who show up at their shops on Pretzel Day, so it’s worth checking out.
This holiday is also a good day to expand your pretzel horizons. If you’ve always indulged in soft pretzels, then maybe it’s time to try out a hard pretzel. If you’ve always had salted pretzels, then maybe you should try some baldies, or maybe a sweet pretzel.