Lenten Dice and Pretzels
How do you get young people involved in Lent. We have two ideas that are part of our programming for Edge and Life Teen this lent. Here is the information for you to use and or modify at home.
The idea is simple. We gave the students two wooden cubes roughly 1 1/2 inches square. There are red and black numbers on the dice. The numbers are keyed to a instruction sheet. You roll the dice. One number tells you what Lenten activity related to the three pillars of lent ie. prayer, fasting or alms giving, to perform. The other tells the student who to dedicate that prayer to on that day.
Here are the instruction sheets and a collection of images. You could cut the images out and have your student color them, paste them on the cube as a family activity allowing you to discuss Lent, it's meaning and activities you might undertake as a family. You could even do the Lenten Dice together.
First Lent Dice
At Life Teen the project is Lenten Pretzels.
The pretzel indeed has its origins as an official food of Lent. However, much of the information available is based on tradition that has been handed down through the ages. Nevertheless, the Vatican library actually has a manuscript illustrating one of the earliest pictures and descriptions of the pretzel (Manuscript Code no. 3867).
In the early Church, the Lenten abstinence and fasting laws were more strict than what the faithful practice today. Many areas of the Church abstained from all forms of meat and animal products, while others made exceptions for food like fish.
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 ones 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.
Here is a Soft Pretzel Recipe
What you need:
1 package yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups flour
Mix your yeast, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, and knead until the dough is smooth. Shape into the form of arms crossed in prayer and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the dough with a beaten egg to give it a shiny finish (I skipped the egg on mine). Sprinkle the top with salt, and bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
And here is a Pretzel Prayer you can say while making or eating the pretzels.