Natonal Pretzel Day
National Pretzel Day is a holiday that is celebrated every year on April 26th. It’s a day when 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 National Pretzel Day
To fully appreciate National Pretzel Day, you first have to delve into the origins of the pretzel. According to myth, the origins can be traced back to 7th-century Italy. Supposedly, 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. To find 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 bakers’ guilds in 1111.
Eventually, pretzels became known as a symbol of good luck. So much so, in fact, that German children often hung pretzels around their necks to celebrate New Year’s, 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 prayer 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 German immigrants as they immigrated to the United States. The German immigrants became known as the Pennsylvania 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. 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 eventually hit the market when 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 National Pretzel Day
One of the best ways to celebrate this holiday is to 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 National 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 perhaps a sweet pretzel.