Bretzelsonnden (March or April)

A pretzel for your sweetheart!

A basketfull of 'Bretzelen"
SIP / Zineb Ruppert

Luxembourgers celebrate 'Bretzelsonnden' (Pretzel Sunday) every year on the third Sunday in Lent.

Pretzels are a Luxembourg specialty, made of puff pastry with fondant icing and almonds, representing two lovers arm in arm. Although pretzels were originally salted, the sweet version is more common nowadays.

According to tradition, a man should offer his sweetheart one of these pretzels on Pretzel Sunday. If she accepts it, he is allowed to visit her on Easter Day, when he will receive eggs in return.

Otherwise she gives him a basket. Hence the Luxembourgish expression 'de Kuerf kréien' (to be given the basket), meaning to be rejected.

In leap years, the tradition is reversed: girls offer their sweetheart a pretzel.

In the 18th century, the custom began on the day of the 'Buergbrennen' bonfire, with girls calling out their sweetheart's name as they threw wood onto the fire. If all went well, he would then give her a pretzel on the fourth Sunday before Easter, and would receive eggs from her on Easter Day.  In old times, the Pretzel Sunday custom set the seal on many a marriage.

In Luxembourg City, Pretzel Sunday is celebrated these days as a neighbourhood party, and the Jhangeli tourist train is decorated with pretzels and accompanied by a small band. The procession, which includes pastrycooks from all over the Grand Duchy and the 'Pretzel Queen', walks through the streets of Luxembourg City, handing out free pretzels.

  • Updated 28-04-2015