Did you know that pretzels are a Lenten food? Their shape is meant to resemble arms crossed in prayer or penance. Catholicculture.org has some interesting information about them. They may be made using the simple ingredients of flour, yeast, water, and salt, not requiring eggs, milk or butter (which in times past had been forbidden during Lent).
This past week, along our St. Anne’s Activity Director, Shelly, I made soft pretzels for our residents’ afternoon snack after bingo. Before this, our residents’ favorite pastime, Shelly read to them about the spiritual history of these “little arms” (Latin: bracellae) We had fun throughout the games, joking about pretzels. I especially enjoyed picking on (in fun) one of our ladies who could live on pretzels. We even went so far as to have them call out “pretzel” instead of bingo.
In all seriousness, the sight of a pretzel can serve as a reminder to me and you of the call to prayer and penance, especially during Lent.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF
PS: I usually wear that goofy hat when I call bingo, but that’s a whole other story!