The so-called “Brezgenmarkt”, a kind of local open-air fair, on Palm Sunday in the valley called “Hungerbrunnen” between Heldenfingen and Altheim, about 30 km north east of Ulm, is a big event every year. If the weather is fine – as was the case this year on 20.03.2016 – more than 150 exhibitors and up to 40000 visitors come.
A so-called palm pretzel
From: https://www.gerstetten.de/de/Aktuelles/Maerkte/Brezgenmarkt (version 20.03.2016) we can read the following (original only available in German):
“The local fair, mentioned for the first time in a document in 1533, has remained a well-established meeting point for people until today. It was not always as peaceful as the chronicle tells us. In 1705 the fair was forbidden by the council of Ulm and later in 1730 by the government in Stuttgart because of arguing.”
And in an article of the newspaper Südwest Presse Ulm from 18.03.2016 (original only available in German) you can read that in 1843, written in a document of the “Oberamt”, young people met again on Palm Sunday for a dance event at the Hungerbrunnen. We can find an important passage in this document concerning the “Brezgenmarkt”, as we know it today, “On Palm Sunday young people are coming to this location, where there are now no chandlers nor fiddlers but some bakers who sell palm pretzels to the young men.“ It continues as follows: “The young men presented the pretzels to their girls and on Easter Sunday they meet again at this location and the girls returned with an Easter egg for each present. After a short stay they walk home singing as they go…“
So much for history. Today the Brezgenmarkt is a local fair where you can find funfair booths, household articles, covers for mobile phones, knitwear, equipment for hoovers and cleaning, toys, jewelry, fruit, shoes, skins and many booths with food and beverages and maybe up to 10 bakers selling palm pretzels. Palm pretzels are available in 6 sizes, size one with app. 65 g up to size 6 with 1300g.
A beautiful palm pretzel
One of the booths where you can buy palm pretzels
Colorful market bustle
More about palm pretzels.
In the book “Gelungen geschlungen“ (only available in German, the title translated is “Successfully looped“) by Irene Krauß, Silberburg Verlag 2003, page 52 – 53, we can read:
“On Palm Sunday in Catholic regions there is a procession carrying palm rods decorated with pretzels along the roads and streets to the church to be blessed there. So the custom is still alive.
In many places the palm pretzel seems to be equivalent to the Lent pretzel which is without salt and sleep. This is not astonishing as the Catholic Church rule requires strict fasting between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The make of the popular palm pretzel bears testimony to how also during fasting periods people indulged in secret pleasures, especially in Protestant regions. The Lent pastry which was originally meant to do penance became a fine yeast pretzel with eggs, sugar and raisins. In former times godparents presented their godchildren palm pretzels after the palm procession. Today this custom no longer exists.”
On youtube you can find a video showing the production of Palm pretzels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb0_v3ffZLw
(Photographs and text: Dr. W. Doster,
optimization of the English version: Rhiannon Maier)