April 26 is unofficially National Pretzel Day. National Pretzel Day was declared in 2003 by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
During the 19th century, southern German and Swiss German immigrants
introduced the pretzel to North America. Pennsylvania is the center
of American pretzel production for both the hard crispy and the soft
bread types of pretzels.
Pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snack. The commonly
held story is that pretzels date back to 610AD. Monks baked thin
strips of dough into the shape of a child's arms folded in prayer as
a reward for students saying their prayers. The strips of baked
dough were called ‘pretiola’ (little rewards).
During the 17th century, pretzels symbolized the bond of marriage.
This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated.
Helen Hoff is the world-champion pretzel twister, at 57 pretzels a
The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550
million. The average American consumes about 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) of
pretzels per year.
Pretzels without salt are called baldies.