The Bretzelsonndeg takes place at mid-Lent in Luxembourg. It's a tasty, ancestral tradition that brings joy to all lovers, but not only... This year, the Bretzelsonndeg falls on March 10, 2024.
Bretzelsonndeg traditions in Luxembourg
A moment of rejoicing in the midst of the Lenten season
Bretzelsonndeg traditionally takes place on the fourth Sunday of the Catholic fasting period, Lent. This fasting period follows the Carnival festivities.
Pretzel Sunday" is an important part of Luxembourg culture. It's one of Luxembourg's most delicious traditions, and a real treat for food lovers.
Made from leavened dough (flour and eggs), the Bretzel featured at the Bretzelsonndeg is larger and softer than an ordinary pretzel. You'll find them in all Luxembourg bakeries and patisseries.
But this sweet cake is also celebrated with processions and parades in cities across the country.
And above all, the lovers give the one they love a pretzel to declare their love. The loved one's answer will have to wait until Easter Day...
The religious tradition of Bretzelsonndeg
The tradition of "Bretzelsonndeg" dates back to the Middle Ages. The fourth Sunday of Lent was known to Catholics as Laetare Sunday. This means "Sunday of Joy". On this day, the Church allowed a break from the youthful and penitential practices of the Lenten period before the Easter festivities.
People could gather with family and friends to share a meal of various dishes, including hard-boiled eggs. It was also an opportunity to use eggs that could not be preserved during the 40-day Lenten period.
The parade and the Pretzel Queen for a moment of indulgence
In some regions, parades and other festive events are organized to mark Bretzelsonndeg.
This is particularly true in Wasserbillig, where a Pretzel King or Queen is elected during the traditional mid-Lenten cavalcade.
In Luxembourg, the Jhangeli tourist train in the Grund is decorated with the delicious pastry. It winds through the city streets, accompanied by a small orchestra. The procession includes the country's bakers, who hand out free pretzels. The Pretzel Queen, elected for the occasion, accompanies this gourmet procession.
Luxembourg lovers' festival
These days, Pretzel Sunday is all about declaring your love for your beloved with a pretzel!
On Bretzelsonndeg, tradition dictates that a man should offer a pretzel to his sweetheart. If she accepts his advances, the lover will offer her beau some eggs on Easter Sunday. If not, the spurned lover receives an empty basket. The Luxembourg expression "de Kuerf kréien" (to receive a basket), meaning "to be dumped", derives from this tradition.
On leap years, the tradition is reversed. This is the case in 2024! Women offer the pretzel to the one they've fallen in love with. This year, it's the men who take charge of the eggs or the basket!
The pretzel, a Luxembourg gourmet speciality
Pretzels are typical Luxembourg pastries. Nowadays, the pretzel is widely celebrated during the February-March period! And those with a sweet tooth use this as an excuse to enjoy delicious pretzels, even in the absence of a loved one!
Although they exist in a savory version, in Luxembourg pretzels are mostly eaten in their sweet version, made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar and almonds.
Pretzels are found in Luxembourg, of course, but also in neighboring regions such as Germany and Alsace in France. The pretzel dough is folded in a very specific way before baking. The shape of the pretzel represents the intertwining of a lover's arms. The word pretzel is derived from the word arm.
So let yourself be tempted by this delicious pastry and declare your most secret feelings...
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