Friday, June 9, 2017

Of Pretzels and Spelling Bees 🙏

I saw a recent hippy comic strip goofing on pretzels, saying they look like snakes:

This annoyed me because as I recalled from Catholic school days, and as KateriofMnisota confirmed on her video, pretzels were made for Lent

Usual interpretation that pretzels represent arms in prayer:

An alternative explanation is that pretzels represent the trinity:

Even the secular humanist History channel confirms

Pretzels were designed to be in the shape of hands in prayers:

So, the stupid comic seems to be either wittingly, or unwittingly, anti Christian. However, the USA is a free country, so Tony Cochran, the hippy comic,  has the right to be a jerk.

One might guess the religious connotations of pretzels if one looked up the etymology  "Pretzel." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 9 June 2017

However, clicking on the link to the kid's explanation of "pretzel" gives a purely secular humanist explanation that pretzels are just shaped like folded arms with no reference to prayer:

If you're obsessed with etymologies, then you also might be obsessed with Spelling Bees and their etymologies:

Ben Zimmer June 2, 2017  "Wall Street Journal" article "Searching for the Roots of Spelling Bees" hypothesizes both a secular ( imitating honey bees) and religious (derivation from Latin "bene" aka "blessing") source for the modern term "bee":

"Etymologists [with an affinity for entomologists - I made a punny!] long assumed that these get-togethers were called 'bees' 'in allusion to the social character of the insect,' as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it. But a sociologist named George C. Homans came up with a different theory in his 1941 book 'English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century.' Homans noticed a striking similarity between the 'bees' of his native New England and what were called 'beans' or 'beens' in the English countryside, likewise involving neighbors sharing in some type of labor. That in turn likely stems from the Middle English word 'bene,' meaning a boon or prayer."

So, in case, Homans' theory is correct, here is Liszt's "Blessing of God in Solitude" for your easy listening pleasure whilst munching yummy pretzels and reading random dictionary definitions:

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