The History of the Hot Cross Bun

Traditionally eaten by Christians on Good Friday these sweet buns made with currants or raisins and leavened with yeast are marked with a cross as a symbol of the crucifixion.  These crosses can be made by scoring cuts into the top of the bread, using icing, rice paper or pastry. But like most religious beliefs and traditions, different faiths have different beliefs on the meaning of these buns.

The Saxons believed the cross represented the four quarters of the moon and were eaten to honour the goddess Eostre.  Monarchs of Protestant England believed that the buns, baked from the dough used in the communion wafer, had too much hold over the Catholics and tried to have them banned from sale.  However popularity overruled and they were allowed to be sold on Easter and Christmas.

Hot cross buns also come with a few superstitions.  Hanging a bun in the kitchen protected the home from fires and ensured bread baking success.  To protect oneself from shipwreck, they should be taken along with you on any sea voyage.  And finally sharing a bun with another is said to guarantee a good friendship for the next year.

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