Die Brezeln - pretzels, a typical South German food. There are several accounts regarding their origin - most assume that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by monks. The pretzel has been in use as an emblem of bakers and their guilds in South German areas since the 12th century. Within the Christian Church, they were regarded as having religious significance for both ingredients and shape. The knot shape has been claimed to represent hands in prayer, while the 3 holes supposedly represent the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Pretzels made with a simple recipe using only flour and water could be eaten during Lent, when Christians were not supposed to eat eggs, lard, or dairy. As time passed, pretzels became associated with both Lent and Easter. They have most firmly taken root in Franken in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and adjoining areas and have been an integral part of German baking traditions for centuries.