Campus Ministry Hosts Lenten Pretzel Fast
Campus Ministry hosted a Lenten Pretzel Fast Friday during lunch. Members of Campus Ministry distributed the doughy snacks to more than 225 members of the student body, who vowed to eat only the soft bread and water for lunch as part of their Lenten sacrifice.
The tradition of eating pretzels during lent was chronicled by Rev. William Saunders in a column he wrote in 2003 for the Arlington Catholic Herald. According to Fr. Saunders, Lenten abstinence and fasting laws were more strict in the early church than they are today. Many abstained from all forms of meat and animal products, while others made exceptions for food like fish. At the time, eating just one meal per day was practiced regularly during Lent. A need arose for a simple food to fulfill both abstinence and fasting laws.
According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, in the early 600s a young Italian monk was preparing a special Lenten bread made of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then-popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other across the chest.
The symbolic reminder of prayer, sacrifice, and fasting makes pretzels the perfect food for Lent.
CatholicCulture.org – Pretzels for God: Lent and the Pretzel
CatholicEducation.org – Lenten Pretzels