The ritual of bread and salt
An ancient custom that has made its way into modern society
Bread. In many parts of the world it is considered to be the most basic food. It is made using only very few ingredients, which are not only very affordable but also easy to store over longer periods in all kinds of climates.
Salt. Today, you can find it in almost every household around the planet. But it is not its taste that has made salt so important. Without the discovery of its uses, the world would have developed in a much slower pace. Salt gave humanity the power to preserve food, which has not only allowed us to survive harsh winters but also made it possible for discoverers to spend weeks and months at sea without starving to death.
Bread and salt have become so important that many cultures have developed customs involving the two things we usually take for granted on a daily basis.
Many religious texts such as the bible use bread and salt as symbols for life. In the middle ages, bread and salt were believed to protect you from dark magic. Some middle eastern countries still welcome guests with bread and salt. In northern Germany, bread and salt are even sometimes wrapped into babies' diapers to wish them a happy future. (Please don't cover your kids' diapers in salt now. I doubt that it's a pleasant feeling for them.
The most common custom involving bread and salt, however, is to give both things to neighbors, friends and family who have just moved into a new house or apartment. I have recently experienced that this tradition still exists and I was grateful for the gift of bread and salt. It's such a nice gesture!