National Pretzel Day began in 2003 by Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell. He did so because pretzels are significant to Pennsylvania’s history and economy. During the 19th century, many Germany immigrants settled in central Pennsylvania and over time became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. One of the many unique treasures they brought with them to the United States was the handmade pretzel. The popularity of pretzels grew rapidly in the 20th century especially in major cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York.
There are mixed stories about where pretzels originated from. Some believe that the first pretzel ever made was done so by an Italian monk in 610 AD as a reward to children who learned their prayers. The folded dough of the pretzel is said to represent arms crossing the chest. Others state that they were invented in a monastery in southern France. Still others believe a pretzel is related to a Greek ring bread. There is no official record so no one knows for sure.
How to Celebrate
The best way to celebrate National Pretzel Day is to eat a pretzel, of course! Go online or visit your local pretzel shop and most likely they will have some sort of promotion to celebrate National Pretzel Day. Through our research we have found one pretzel chain in particular that gives out one free pretzel per customer on this day every year. Another way to celebrate today is to visit the Pretzel Museum in Philadelphia. Unfortunately this historical museum that opened in 1993 is now closed, but remains in spirit online.
To honor this day we are featuring a can of 1977 Ortlieb’s Beer. This particular can is a part of the Americana Collection featuring “A Philadelphia Scene – The Soft Pretzel Vendor”. On it is a picture of a man selling pretzels on a Philly street from his pretzel cart. There is a sign on the side of the cart that says, “PHILA’S BEST SOFT PRETZELS, 15 cents, 2 – 25 cents”.
Happy National Pretzel Day (4/26)!
Photos used by permission of CanMuseum.com