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Luxembourg prepares for Bretzelsonndeg

Luxembourg prepares for Bretzelsonndeg

12 by ADW 07.03.2018 From our online archive
Luxembourg tradition takes place on Sunday, but what's the history, and what's supposed to happen?
'Pretzel Queen' hands out pretzels on Bretzelsonndeg 2016 (Guy Jallay)
'Pretzel Queen' hands out pretzels on Bretzelsonndeg 2016 (Guy Jallay)

Bretzelsonndeg, or Pretzel Sunday, is a bit of culinary match-making, marking the halfway point of Lent, or Halleffaaschten.

Traditionally, a man buys his sweetheart a pretzel as a sign of his affection. If the woman accepts the gift, she gives him a chocolate egg in return on Easter Sunday.

However, if the pretzel-giver receives a basket instead, it is a sign of rejection. This is why, in Luxembourgish, there is the expression 'de Kuerf kréien' (to be given the basket), meaning to be be rejected.

In Leap Years, however, the tradition is reversed, and women buy the pretzel.

The custom began in the 18th century on the day of Buergbrennen, when bonfires are lit across the country to chase away winter.

Women threw pieces of wood onto the fire while shouting out the name of their love.

If all went according to plan, then they would receive pretzels on the fourth Sunday before Easter, now known as Bretzelsonndeg.

Bakeries across the country are well-stocked already with the sweet goodies in preparation for Sunday.

The pretzels are made from a pastry dough, decorated with almonds, and can also be filled with nuts or chocolate.