A favorite Lenten tradition of mine is making pretzels on fast days. We are obliged to eat only one and half meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the Great Fast. A pretzel, pictured below, takes the place of the half meal. The shape is meant to evoke the image of arms folded across one’s chest in prayer, Byzantine-style. The fast itself reminds us to pray, but the shape of the pretzel also reminds us to pray.
One thing I like about pretzels is that warm, fresh baked, bread is so comforting. With the first bite of a fresh baked pretzel, a sigh of relief washes over the weary and fasting body and soul. It is a reminder to rest in the Lord and wait for the joy and Light to come. We come to a point each year in which we are so beleaguered with sin, that the purging of Great Fast is welcomed. We begin our journey of great hope.