Guys: give a pastry pretzel to your sweetheart this Sunday
Photo: Sundar1/Wikimedia Commons
Luxembourg traditions: If a boy likes a girl, he’ll give her a pretzel-shapped pastry, unless it’s a leap year, explains native Luxembourger Carole Miltgen.
Bretzelsonndeg (“Pretzel Sunday”) takes place 20 days before Easter, which is half through Lent. In Luxembourg we therefore also call it Halleffaaschtensonndeg (“Half Lent Sunday”); this year it will be on March 30.
At the beginning of spring, when positive emotions resurface, a boy gives a pretzel to a girl who he has laid his eyes on. The feelings for her must be as big and as sweet as the almond pastry that he is about to offer her.
In case the feelings are mutual and the girl is interested, she will offer him a chocolate egg in return, on Easter Sunday. This leaves her 20 days to consider her options.
The same rule applies for existing relationships where a man will offer his sweetheart a pretzel to re-emphasise his tender feelings for her.
In a leap year, it is the other way around and girls take the lead by offering a pretzel to a boy.
Until the middle of the 20th century this was a local custom, only popular around the Moselle and Sûre rivers. Nowadays, it is celebrated by everyone in Luxembourg.
It is said that a long time ago, custom required that couples who had married during the previous year offer a pretzel to all the guests who had managed to receive a part of the bride’s garter.
During my youth, when I was a member of the scouts, spring fever started earlier for us… I was told that if a boy was interested in a girl, he would blacken her face at Buergbrennen with cooled down ashes. This initial act then marked the beginning of the mating season, which lead to pretzels, Easter eggs and ended up in marriage!
Although men should not need a reminder to offer something sweet to their honeys, it’s a great tradition for us women… and for bakers, for that matter.
Native Luxembourger Carole Miltgen is CEO of Prisma S.A., a project and document management firm in the funds sector.