My CCD class and Annie's 2nd grade class were thrilled with this Lenten basket full of pretzels. Of course we talked about the use of purple Mardi Gras beads draping the basket, the purple being symbolic that we are observing the Lenten Penitential Season within the church calendar.
The priintable sheet is offered here at Catholic Icing (I placed them on recloseable zip-lock snack bags and left them plain for the children to color): Pretzels for Lent
This is the story I shared with them (excerpt from Lenten Pretzels by Fr. William Saunders )
"According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, a young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. (To be fair, some traditions date the story to even the 300s.)
"Because these breads were shaped into the form of crossed arms, they were called bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms." From this word, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since mutated to the familiar word pretzel.
"Another possibility for the origins of the word pretzel is that the young monk gave these breads to children as a reward when they could recite their prayers. The Latin word pretiola means "little reward," from which pretzel could also be reasonably derived."