When you think about symbols of love, it won’t take long for you to imagine the biggest ones – hearts, roses, rings, holding hands, maybe doves or swans, or even a playlist.
There are others, of course, that aren’t quite as universal, yet make sense. An anchor, a compass, a lotus flower. But what about one that’s hardly mentioned anymore but once was such a symbol of love that the phrase “tying the knot” may have begun there.
It’s a simple pretzel.
Back in the 17th Century, pretzels were a common symbol of love in some European countries. In Switzerland, royal couples would exchange pretzels on their wedding day as a sign of eternity and their intertwined life.
We asked James Crowley, manager of the Philly Pretzel Factory in Wayne, why pretzels remain a symbol of love for him today. “When they first were made by the monks in Europe, the called them ‘pretiola,’ which in Latin means ‘little reward.’ They’d give them out to children for saying their prayers, because they looked like arms crossed in prayer.
When you get down to it, pretzels are a pretty simple recipe: flour, water, butter, salt, sugar, and yeast. Love’s a pretty simple recipe also. But ultimately, for each of them, it’s not what goes into it that makes it special – it’s what you do with what you have that makes it great.”