The famous Arkatena pretzels in Cyprus were made in Omodos in the Limassol district for the first time in 1880. The art of making Arkatena came to Omodos from Smirne, in particular from Hadjistasou who came to Cyprus and married Hadjinikoli from Omodos. She then taught the other women in the village how to make arkatena and the art spread in the village.
For the creation of arkatena pretzels it is necessary to use ground chickpeas and zizimpri. During the night time this mixture is stirred continuously which is also the secret in order to succeed. In the case that the mixture is not stirred continuously, the pretzels will not succeed and they will not inflate.
The ingredients which are used for the creation of the pretzels are, flour and other smells such as mastic, nutmeg, rosewater and others. With the creation of the pretzels, the over is also prepared, that is the heating. When they are cooked in the oven they are kept there in order to become hard.
There is also another type of pretzel called panisida which is a round bread and is offered to the church on celebrations and memorials. Another type of pretzel is the mizana which is long and thin and is made up of 5-7 pieces and this becomes soft and dry.
In the older years the pretzels were offered during visits, baptisms and weddings instead of sweets and loukoumia which are offered today. Many times they were offered together with halloumi and meat.
Today panisides are still taken to church as a gift, while the pretzels are used for meals. The housewives of Omodos prepare the pretzels 4-5 times a year for their family needs. They are also prepared by some residents for commercial reasons.