Officials in Luxembourg have reminded the public about the importance of respecting traditions after a woman gave her boyfriend a sweet bretzel, causing him to turn into an egg.
The incident occurred on Sunday, Bretzelsonndeg (Pretzel Sunday), just moments after Astrid Knoop surprised her partner Matthias Buchler with the almond-encrusted pastry.
“He said, ‘oh, a surprise for me, how nice,’” said Knoop, fighting back tears. “The moment he opened the package, poof, he was gone, and in his place was a large egg.”
The rules of Bretzelsonndeg, officials say, call for a man to give a woman a sweet pretzel as an expression of love for her. If she accepts his affection, she is supposed to give him an egg. If not, she must give him an empty basket.
“It’s sad that this happened, but it shows the dangers of thinking you can ignore what our grandparents and their grandparents taught us,” said Pol Funck, spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture.
“We call on Fischer and other bakeries to launch a public awareness campaign next year and put warning labels on bretzels, much like we do with cigarettes,” he added. “If not, we will be obliged to make people complete a tradition-education course before they can buy those delicious sugary bretzels.”
“They are yummy,” he added.
Critics say the tradition is prone to causing such mishaps, considering that during leap years, the roles are reserved. Also, they point out, many Luxembourg residents do not fit into the man-woman relationship model, which further invites disaster.
The victim, a 29-year-old sports teacher from Wasserbillig, has issued no comment because, as he is now an egg, he now longer has a mouth.
His girlfriend, also a teacher who originally comes from Trier, says she will do everything she can to care for him.
“I’ve built a little nest for him in the bedroom, near the radiator to keep him warm, and with any luck, he will hatch in the coming weeks,” she said. “If he emerges as a little chick, I will keep him as my pet, and if he comes out as a tiny man, I will still consider marrying him, although finding a tuxedo that small will be difficult.”