A pretzel is a baked snack made of dough that usually has a knot-like shape. Pretzels are sold in many different varieties such as the soft dough pretzel, and smaller hard versions of the knot-like soft dough pretzels. They originated in Germany during the Middle Ages, likely in monasteries.
A pretzel's shape is in the form of arms crossed in prayer. Ancient Christians "shaped these breads in the form of crossed arms for in those days they crossed their arms over the breast while praying. Therefore they called the breads 'little arms' (bracellae). From this Latin word, the Germanic people later coined the term 'pretzel.'"
- Pretzels for God: Lent and the Pretzel. catholicculture.org. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.