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Pair a soft pretzel with a bit of mustard or some squeezy cheese, or dip some crunchy pretzel in a caramel sauce for that sweet and savory combo. No matter how they are enjoyed, the guest of honor is always tasty. It’s time for Pretzel Sunday! 

In its native German, Pretzel Sunday is called “Bretzelsonndeg”, and this traditional day is notable because it lands right at the center of the religious season of Lent.

History of Pretzel Sunday

Pretzels date back hundreds of years, with some historians believing that the first pretzels were created by monks in either Northern Italy or Southern France in the 7th century AD. These pretzels were probably made from scraps of dough that were left over after the bread-making process. The legend has it that the long strips of pretzel dough were twisted around and across to symbolize the shape of a child’s arms that were folded in prayer. Another story goes that the religious symbolism is also related to the three holes representing the three persons of the Christian trinity.

Particularly celebrated in the small European country of Luxembourg, Pretzel Sunday is a celebration of love that falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Lent takes place for the days prior to Easter (not counting Sundays) and is a time of fasting for those in the Christian faith. Pretzel Sunday is an exciting time that marks the halfway point between the beginning of the Lenten Season and the end.

Pretzel Sunday comes from a fun folk custom that originated in Luxembourg where the tradition is that boys are invited to present girls they like with a pretzel. This type of pretzel might be a slightly sweeter version that is made from puff pastry, covered in fondant icing and topped off with sliced almonds.

Then, if the girl likes the boy in return, she is invited to reciprocate by giving the boy a decorated egg a few weeks later, on Easter Sunday. In a more disappointing turn of events, if she is not interested in him, the girl will give him an empty basket as a sign that he should look elsewhere for love.

This exchange is a delightful tradition that brings lots of fun and affection, even for married couples who participate. And in leap years? The roles are reversed so that the girl gives the sweet pretzel on Pretzel Sunday and boys have the option to give an egg or an empty basket on Easter.

Today, Pretzel Sunday can be enjoyed and celebrated by anyone, whether using it for that special someone or simply by giving away pretzels to those who are loved!

Pretzel Sunday Timeline

610 AD

Pretzels are created

The story goes that pretzels are created by monks either in Italy or France. [1]


Pretzels make it to the US

German immigrants bring pretzels to Pennsylvania. [2]


First commercial pretzel bakery in the US

Julius Sturgis founds his pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania. [3]


First Auntie Anne’s Pretzel’s opens

In Downington, Pennsylvania, Auntie Anne’s is opened in a farmers’ market, and this will eventually become the largest pretzel chain in the United States.[4]

How to Celebrate Pretzel Sunday

Have tons of fun celebrating this delightful day with some traditional customs or new activities. Mark Pretzel Sunday by enjoying the day in some of these ways:

Give a Pretzel to Your Sweetie

Pretzel Sunday is a great time to keep the Luxembourg tradition alive by offering a sweet, soft pretzel to the person you love. Though it is specifically meant to be the boy giving the pretzel to the girl, it’s certainly okay for a girl to break tradition and gift a pretzel to the boy she loves.

Of course, modern times can mean modern traditions, and it might be fun to spread the wealth from just romantic love and, instead, give out delicious soft pretzels to anyone that is loved!

Try Making Soft Pretzels

One fun and tasty way to enjoy celebrating Pretzel Sunday might be to learn how to make these yummy treats at home. Choose a recipe that is made from puff pastry reminiscent of the traditional Luxembourg style, complete with fondant icing and sliced almonds. Or try out a salty soft pretzel recipe that can be enjoyed with more savory dips. In any case, get creative in the kitchen in honor of this excellent day!

Take a Trip to Luxembourg

Because the Pretzel Sunday tradition originated in the European country of Luxembourg, this might be a great time to plan a trip to visit this unique and interesting country. Luxembourg is nestled just between the countries of France, Germany and Belgium. The main city and capital of this small nation is Luxembourg City, which is located in the south central portion of the country.

Visitors to Luxembourg can enjoy a variety of sights, ancient castles, and architecture, as well as beautiful natural scenery. In addition, the country has a unique blend of cultures and holds three national languages: French, German and the national language that is called Luxembourgish. Many people there also can speak English very well, so it’s a great place for people all over the world to visit!

Get Creative with Eating Pretzels

Enjoy Pretzel Sunday by enjoying some unique and creative ways to eat pretzels. For instance, pretzel dough can be made into buns and eaten with burgers or chicken patties to create a delicious sandwich. Or, use some savory dips such as hummus, mustard dip or guacamole to make a delicious and somewhat healthy snack. Or they can even be enjoyed when made into mini cheese ball bites.

Of course, it would certainly also be a smart way to go to make pretzels into some sweet, dessert style snacks. Cover them in a sweet yogurt frosting. Crunch them up and put them in ice cream. Or make them into caramel and chocolate turtles for a tasty treat.

Throw a Pretzel Sunday Party!

Perhaps a new and fun way to celebrate Pretzel Sunday would be to host a little party for family and friends. Invite guests to bring their favorite type of pretzels, whether soft or crunchy, and then have a gathering of dips, spreads and sauces to enjoy them with. Use some of the ideas from above to serve pretzels in a myriad of sweet and savory ways.

Pretzel Sunday FAQs

Are pretzels healthy?

Pretzels can be low in fat, but they don’t have any nutrients and they can raise the blood sugar, so they’re not a highly healthy snack. [1]

Can dogs eat pretzels?

A pretzel or two won’t hurt a dog, but the high sodium could be problematic. [2]

How to make soft pretzels?

Making homemade soft pretzels requires flour, salt, water, yeast, eggs and a few other ingredients. Mix, let rise, bake and enjoy! [3]

Are pretzels gluten free?

Pretzels are typically made with flour which means they contain gluten. [4]

Can pretzels go bad?

Yes, after the bag is opened, pretzels will remain fresh for about 1-2 weeks. [5]

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