As a native New Yorker, it comes as no surprise to me that New York is the state that consumes the most soft pretzels. But what was a surprise to me was the ritualistic significance of the soft pretzel.
For instance, over a millennia ago, an Italian monk formed leftover dough in a way that simulated a child’s arms folded in prayer. It was called the “pretiola,” or little reward.
The etymology of “tying the knot” actually came from a 17th century tradition of couples wishing for good luck by breaking off a piece of a pretzel and eating it.
And continuing the interesting history of the soft pretzel, over 200 years ago, German children would wear a pretzel around their neck like a necklace at the beginning of a new year. Tradition dictated this would bring good luck, prosperity and health.