Showing posts with label Pennsylvania. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pennsylvania. Show all posts

Apr 25, 2014

National Pretzel Day

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 minute.

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.

Mar 16, 2013

Forty Six States of America

Although it is a technicality, there are actually just forty six states. Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are all officially Commonwealths. This grants them no special constitutional powers; they simply chose the word to describe themselves at the end of the war of independence. Virginia, named after the ‘Virgin’ Queen Elizabeth I, was one of the original 13 states (hence the 13 stripes on the flag) and the first of the states to declare itself a Commonwealth, in 1776. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts followed suit shortly afterwards, and Kentucky, which was formally a county of Virginia, became a Commonwealth in 1792.

Oct 11, 2011

What's in a Name, Pennsylvania

William Penn was born in London.  He studied briefly, was thrown in jail a few times for his religious beliefs and became a Quaker. He sailed to America, while still in his thirties, along with others searching for religious freedom.

By coincidence, he later received a large piece of land as repayment for a debt that King Charles II owed his father, Admiral William Penn. The King's charter named the piece of land Pennsylvania. He preferred the name Sylvania so that people didn't think he chose the name after himself.

He was a prolific writer and many of the ideas in Pennsylvania's constitution found their way into the US Constitution.   Sylvania means 'forest land' in Latin.