5 Great Historical Myths And Traditions About Hot Cross Buns, a Pre-Easter Pastry
Photograph courtesy of I Love Images/CorbisDelicious It is customary to have hot cross buns (those doughy, raisin-studded pleasures) throughout Lent, particularly in the week leading up to Easter. They’ve been a Christmas tradition in certain towns for generations, and they’re usually marked with an icing or dough cross on top. (Hot cross buns were even made in ancient Greece, according to certain sources.) The lengthy history of the baked product has provided sufficient opportunity for folklore and superstitions to emerge and spread around it.
According to IrishCentral, this monk prepared the buns on Good Friday in anticipation of the forthcoming Easter festival, and they quickly acquired popularity throughout England as a symbol of the holiday weekend.
Nowadays, the cross may be constructed of chocolate icing or cream, but historically, it is formed of a basic dough or simply an impression carved with a knife to signify the occasion.
If you hang a hot cross bun from the rafters of your kitchen on Good Friday, according to legend, the bread will remain fresh and mold-free for the rest of the year.
- It is recommended that the bun be changed on Good Friday every year.
- They are capable of expelling evil spirits.
- They are also thought to prevent kitchen fires from erupting and to ensure that all loaves prepared during that year would turn out wonderfully delicious, according to legend.
- In addition, friendships are strengthened.
- It is captured in the following phrase from an old rhyme, according to Irish Central: “Good luck shall be divided between us two, half for you and half for me.” They’re too precious to consume on a regular basis.
- The cookies had just become too wonderful to consume on any other day.
So, now it’s your turn to relax and enjoy yourself! You can either purchase them or make them yourself. EasterFoodReligionToday’s Hottest TrendsRecommended Videos
Here’s Why We Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter
We independently choose these items, and if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we may receive a commission. When I think about Easter, there are a number of delicacies that instantly come to mind. Here are some of my favorites. They include hard-boiled eggs, ham, and roast leg of lamb, as well as jelly beans, Peeps, and Cadbury eggs, to name a few treats. Above all else, hot cross buns are the one food that stands out as being particularly appropriate for this time of year.
Over time, I learned to understand the history and custom of this festive treat.
What Exactly Are Hot Cross Buns?
Hot cross buns are sweet yeasted buns that are gently spiced and studded with raisins or currants before being marked on top with a cross that is either piped in icing or etched into the dough. They are traditionally made for Easter. Despite the fact that hot cross buns are now available and eaten throughout the year, they were formerly only available on Good Friday. Hot cross buns make their way to our table around Easter, but there isn’t a single reason for why this happens. Some beliefs are based on Christian symbolism, albeit there are a variety of myths (and even some fairy tales) regarding how these theories came to be developed.
Some of the stories that have been told about hot cross buns are included here.
1. A 12th-century monk introduced the cross to the bun.
The roots of hot cross buns may date back to the 12th century, according to certain sources. According to the legend, the buns were prepared by an Anglican monk and marked with a cross in honor of Good Friday to commemorate the occasion. Over time, they rose in popularity and finally came to be recognized as a symbol of the Easter holiday.
2. Hot cross buns gained popularity in Elizabethan England.
As long back as the 12th century, it is possible that hot cross buns were first made. Apparently, the buns were prepared by an Anglican monk in commemoration of Good Friday, and they were marked with a cross. They rose in popularity throughout time, and finally became synonymous with the Easter weekend.
3. Superstitions about hot cross buns baked on Good Friday.
More than a few legends have also been circulated suggesting that hot cross buns were prepared on Good Friday for superstitious reasons. According to one legend, buns prepared on this day and strung from the rafters of a house will fend off evil spirits for the remainder of the calendar year. On another occasion, it is claimed that these buns protect sailors from shipwreck while they are at sea. Another version states that sharing the bun with a loved one ensures that the two of you will remain friends in the following year.
Have you ever experimented with creating your own?
Graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she has written many cookbooks, including Plant-Based Buddha Bowls, The Probiotic Kitchen, Buddhism in the Kitchen, and Everyday Freekeh Meals. She resides in the state of New Jersey. FollowKelli
The history of the hot cross bun
When I told my next-door neighbor Al, who happens to be a world-class amateur baker, he became irritated because I was researching the history of hot cross buns. He showed me a close-up of a 12-pack of chocolate-chip buns with icing crosses that he had taken with his phone while flicking through the images on it. “Oh, I see,” I said, nodding. The sugary ‘not cross bun’ is also not one of my favorite treats. “It’s a farce!” he said. “However, take a closer look – it gets worse.” My eyes were drawn to his phone, where the source of his wrath was clearly visible in tiny printed print: “Expiry date: 3 January 2018.” What is it that causes us to feel moral outrage every year when supermarkets dare to tamper with the recipes of our favorite Easter goodies and serve them to us in a manner that is not in keeping with the season?
- However, when a hot cross bun is studded with chocolate and Belgian toffee, or flavored with orange peel or mocha, and offered out of season, we find ourselves capturing the evidence like detectives at a crime scene.
- Hot cross buns would come in our kitchen a week or two before Easter and disappear as soon as they were finished baking.
- They were.
- And they came with a poem that sounded like something out of a Dickens novel: “Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter treat.
- One penny, two pennies, three pennies, four pennies.
- It came as a bit of a surprise to learn that this staple of any six-year-songbook old’s had a history that dated back deeper than the nineteenth century.
- However, the origins of hot cross buns may be traced much further back in time.
Saxons were said to have eaten buns with crosses on them in honor of Eostre, goddess of spring or light, who is credited with giving her name to Easter.
Some of the sacred “cakes” were inscribed with the image of deer or ox horns, while others were inscribed with a cross, which represented the four quarters of the lunar cycle.
Herodotus informs us that they were left in sanctuaries established at crossroads for fugitives and hunters at the time of their capture.
As a matter of fact, the early Christian church didn’t have time for such pagan worship and instead put the buns to work in the service of Christ.
The bun had received a blessing.
(Photo courtesy of Mikkel Vang) When Queen Elizabeth issued a ban on the selling of hot cross buns at any time other than funerals, Good Friday and Christmas in the late 16th century, it was speculated that it was because they were regarded to be so sacred.
After being created in the privacy of one’s home, the buns became the subject of a new mythology, which was based on the belief that they possessed magical abilities.
They would purify the home of evil spirits, defend it from fire, and prevent ships from shipwrecks, among other things.
While the bun itself has scudded through epochs from paganism to Christianity, our present recipe is credited to a 14th-century monk at the Cathedral of St Albans, who first combined the yeast with cinnamon and then gave his baked goods to the destitute in the city.
Yes, I’m a purist when it comes to the bun, just like my next-door neighbor.
Rather than baking a spiced hot cross bun for Easter, I’ll be hanging it from the rafters and hope that it will keep the evil mocha orange peel spirits at bay.
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The fact that I was conducting research on the history of hot cross buns irritated my next-door neighbor Al, who happens to be a legendary amateur baker. He showed me a close-up of a 12-pack of chocolate-chip buns with icing crosses that he had taken with his phone while flicking through the images on his phone. When I nodded, I said, “I see what you mean.” The sweet ‘not cross bun’ is also not one of my favorite things to eat. The response was, “A travesty!” Upon closer inspection, though, the situation becomes more dire.
- What is it that causes us to feel this way year after year?
- However, when a hot cross bun is studded with chocolate and Belgian toffee, or flavored with orange peel or mocha, and offered outside of season, we find ourselves capturing the evidence like detectives at a crime scene.
- Hot cross buns would come in our kitchen a week or two before Easter and disappear as soon as they were finished baking in our oven.
- They were.
- They also came with a poem that sounded like something out of a Dickens novel: ” “Cinnamon buns for the occasion.
- One cent, two pennies, three pennies, four pennies Cinnamon buns for the occasion.” Almost like you could see the sturdy ladies yelling along the cobblestoned streets from the sides of rickety carts as they passed by.
- It may be traced back to the rhyming screams of 18th-century street sellers who might be credited with inventing the earliest sort of commercial jingle, which is Molly Malone’s cry of “Cockles andmussels, alive, alive-oh” in the Irish ballad.
- The full history of Western civilization, including the rise and fall of deities and empires, might, in fact, be told inside the honey-hued sheen of this little, spiced loaf of bread, and it would not be a stretch to claim so.
- For Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon, archaeologists have discovered customs that are identical to those of Druids, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans.
- When visiting Pompeii today, visitors will be able to witness the remnants of such buns in an antique bakehouse, assuming they are lucky enough to get there before the city is completely destroyed.
When Jeremiah condemned Hebrew women for forsaking their Christian father and continuing to worship Diana in 587BC, the Bible reports that they offered up cakes to Diana, who was known as “the moon, queen of the brilliant sky.” As a matter of fact, the early Christian church didn’t have time for such pagan worship and instead put the buns to work in God’s service.
- He blessed the bun and it was good to go.
- Anyone found baking them outside during this time period would be required to donate all of their buns to the less fortunate.
- On Good Friday, for example, it was believed that they would defy decay and that people would nibble on them throughout the year in order to benefit from their purported restorative properties (thus the name).
- On Good Friday, individuals in Ireland would exchange hot cross buns with their best friends while chanting the lines “Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be” to ensure their friendship for the upcoming year, according to legend.
- If this monk was to go into a shop today, I’d be in tears thinking about what he might say.
- In part, this is out of respect for a history that is still accessible to us via food, but it is also because I am not ready to hand up all of our holy rites to the new gods of consumption and profit.
Rather than baking a spiced hot cross bun for Easter, I’ll be hanging it from the rafters and hoping that it will keep the wicked mocha orange peel ghosts away.
Why are they called hot cross buns?
A classic hot cross bun is a spicy, yeasted bun that is shaped like a cross. In traditional recipes, it is prepared with raisins or currants and is distinguished by a cross on the top. In most cases, a flour and water mixture is used to pipe the cross, however shortcrust pastry can also be used to make the cross. The cross depicts the crucifixion of Jesus in the eyes of Christians. The spices used to flavor the buns represent the spices that were placed on Jesus’ corpse when he died. As their name implies, the buns are finest when served hot, which is how they got their start.
In 1930, a group of young girls worked in a London bakery, stamping crosses on hot cross buns for Easter.
Where do hot cross buns originate from?
There are a plethora of hypotheses as to how the bun came to be. One idea goes back to the 14th century, when an Anglican monk at St Albans Abbey cooked the buns and gave them the name ‘Alban Bun’ to distinguish them from other buns. On Good Friday, he then handed them to the less fortunate. They quickly acquired popularity throughout England and came to be recognized as a symbol of the Easter holiday. In 1582, the London clerk of markets issued an order prohibiting bakers from selling the buns they had made.
Elizabeth I of England issued a legislation allowing them to be sold only at Easter and Christmas, and no other time.
It was in the 1700s when the earliest recorded mention of hot cross buns appeared in the “Poor Robin Almanac.” “Good Friday is coming up this month, and the elderly woman is running.” “With one or two penny hot cross buns,” says the author.
What is the hot cross bun rhyme?
The Christmas Box, a book published in London in 1798, was the first publication of the English nursery rhyme. According to some sources, the rhyme was also used as a catch-phrase by street sellers selling buns around Easter time to attract customers. ‘Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, hot cross buns! Hot cross buns for one penny, two pennies, please! If you don’t have any girls, you should give them to your boys instead. ‘Hot cross buns for one penny, two cents,’ says the narrator.
A Little History of Hot Cross Buns
Who doesn’t like a good hot cross bun? Baked sweet and sticky dough buns that have been risen with yeast and decorated with dried fruit and mixed peel, as well as scented with spices. Using a light touch, toast them lightly and serve them hot, slathered with good Irish butter. The most delicious Easter bun ever! In fact, there’s a school playground rhyme about Hot Cross Buns that students sing along to while clapping in time with the beat of the words. For decades, this has been a childhood favorite.
In this case, the phrase reads as follows: Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One ha’penny, Two ha’penny, Hot Cross Buns! If you do not have daughters, They should be given to your sons. Hot Cross Buns are available for one cent, two pennies, and three pennies.
HOT CROSS BUNS ON GOOD FRIDAY
Hot Cross Buns are eaten on Good Friday in Christian communities all over the world, including Ireland, the United Kingdom, and countries as far apart as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and India. They serve as a reminder of this historic day in the history of the Christian religion, the day Jesus was crucified. Using flour paste, each bun is embellished with a cross, which depicts the cross upon which Christ died. Traditionally, the spices in hot cross buns are thought to be a representation of the spices used to embalm Christ following his death.
It is also said that a hot cross bun from the batch prepared on Good Friday was always saved in case anyone in the family grew ill over the following year, according to another custom.
These buns were associated with immensely sacred associations, and it was believed that they were capable of curing all maladies, including the most horrible diseases.
CROSS BUNS AND THE GODDESS EOSTRE
Hot Cross Buns are intrinsically associated to the celebration of Easter and the religion of Christianity. However, in actuality, they are most likely pre-Christian in origin. “Cross Buns” were prepared to commemorate Eostre, a Germanic Goddess of Fertility who is supposed to have been the inspiration for the season of Easter, according to legend. She was a voluptuous blonde lady, who was constantly represented surrounded by baby animals such as birds, rabbits, and other little creatures, along with blossoming flowers in bloom.
It was claimed that the four parts of the cross on top of each bun symbolized the phases of the moon, while the cross itself represented rebirth after the long, dark winter months.
BAKE YOUR OWN HOT CROSS BUNS
Whatever explanation you want to give for your Hot Cross Buns, we can all agree that they are the ultimate seasonal delicacy for the holidays. The cakes are a typical baked delicacy of the Easter season, joining Simnel Cake, a light fruit cake covered with marzipan and twelve marzipan balls that depict Christ and his followers (excluding Judas), as a traditional cooked treat of the season. If you’re interested in testing the hypothesis of whether or not your Hot Cross Buns would grow mouldy if you bake them on Good Friday, here’s an easy to follow recipe from Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School!
Good Food Ireland authored this article.
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What Are Hot Cross Buns and Why Are They Eaten on Easter?
Even if you’ve never had a hot cross bun, it’s probable that you’ve heard (or learned to play) the song that was inspired by the traditional Christmas food.
But what exactly is a hot cross bun, and how did it come to be associated with the holiday of Christmas?
What Are Hot Cross Buns?
On the top of the buns are a cross, which is either etched into the dough or piped with icing. They are spicy and sweet, and they are traditionally baked with fruit. Consider them a cross between a dinner roll and a sweet pastry in terms of texture and flavor. Although most recipes call for raisins and cinnamon, there are a plethora of other options available. Hot cross buns are traditionally connected with Easter – a Christian celebration and festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus — and are eaten on Good Friday, or the Friday before Easter, according to tradition.
History and Symbolism
Easter Basket with Hot Cross Buns Getty Images on the 18th of December, 2019. Photograph courtesy of undefined undefined/Getty Images undefined undefined/Getty Images Undefined Undefined We’re not entirely clear when and how hot cross buns first became popular, but a monk at St. Alban’s Abbey in England named Brother Thomas Rodcliffe is believed to have created a recipe that was similar to what we know today. Beginning in 1361, his innovation, known as the Alban Bun, was handed to the impoverished people who resided in the surrounding area of the monastery on the Friday before Easter.
- The city had been in ruins since 79 CE.
- As Thompson described it, “the pagans worshipped Eostre by offering small cakes, frequently ornamented with a cross, at their yearly spring celebration,” which was held in March.
- “It is believed that the cross originally signified the phases of the moon or the four seasons.
- According to the book Christianity by Ina Taylor and Ina Turner, every aspect of the buns is symbolic: “The cross in the centre represents Jesus’ death on the cross.” The spices contained within remind Christians of the spices that were placed on the body of Jesus.
- However, this did not have a negative impact on their popularity.
- At some point, the law was found to be too difficult to execute, and it was repealed.
It was a street cry used by bun sellers that was the first recorded reference, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (printed in Poor Robin’s Almanac): “Good Friday comes this Month, the old woman runs/With one or two a Penny hot cross Bunns.”
Hot Cross Buns Song
Easter Basket filled with Hot Cross Buns Getty Images on the 18th of December, 2018. Undefined undefined/Getty Images is credited with this photograph. /Getty Images/undefined undefined The origins of hot cross buns are unclear, however a monk at St. Alban’s Abbey in England named Brother Thomas Rodcliffe is believed to have invented a recipe that was close to what we know today. As early as 1361, he made a loaf of bread called an Alban Bun, which he handed to the needy people who resided in the area around the monastery.
- When archaeologists were excavating the city of Herculaneum in southwestern Italy, they discovered two small bread loaves that were marked with crosses.
- Hot cross buns, according to author Sue Ellen Thompson’s book Holiday Symbols and Customs, really have their origins in paganism, rather than Christianity.
- The buns, like other pagan rituals linked with spring and new life (such as bunnies and eggs, which have historically served as symbols of fertility and birth), were absorbed by Christianity and became associated with the holiday known as Easter Sunday.
- ” According to an article by Kim Vukovich for NPR, “in the Christian tradition, it now symbolizes the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- According to the book Christianity by Ina Taylor and Ina Turner, every aspect of the buns is symbolic: “The cross in the centre represents Jesus’ death on the cross.
- Sweet fruits in the bun demonstrate that Christians are no longer required to eat bland foods.
- This did not, however, have a negative impact on their overall popularity.
- At some point, the law was found to be too difficult to implement, and it was subsequently overturned.
- It was a street cry used by bun sellers that was the inspiration for the phrase, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (which was featured in Poor Robin’s Almanac): “Good Friday comes this Month, the old woman runs/With one or two a Penny hot cross Buns.”
Superstitions and Traditions
Apparently, hot cross buns baked on Good Friday will never go bad, according to legend. Another superstition about the mystical bun is that, because of the cross on top, they are protected from evil spirits, which is why some bakers used to hang them in their homes as a sign of protection. Supposedly, doing so would avoid kitchen fires and assure that all bread cooked during the year would turn out flawlessly every single time. When it comes to travel, the same idea applies: It was formerly believed that taking a batch of hot cross buns on a lengthy cruise would help to avert shipwrecks.
A hot cross bun is said to be beneficial in the healing of a sick body, according to some traditions.
Nonetheless, one of the more intriguing myths associated with the treat is that sharing one might help to form or develop a connection. According to IrishCentral, an old rhyme says, “Half for you, half for me, between us two, good luck shall be.” “Half for you, half for me,” the rhyme continues.
How to Make Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns 2 (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) 12/18/19 Image courtesy of davidf/Getty Images courtesy of davidf/Getty Images In many ways, preparing hot cross buns is similar to preparing other varieties of sweet buns. Shortcrust pastry is used to produce traditional hot cross buns, which makes carving the cross into the top of the buns much easier. The crosses are piped on with icing at the end of the baking process in more recent recipes, allowing the baker more creative freedom. Using a heavy-duty stand mixer to create the rolls is recommended if you have one; the dough is too sticky to knead by hand otherwise.
According to our pals at Southern Living, “using too much flour will negatively impact your outcome.” A wet, humid day will need the use of the entire 5 cups of flour; a dry, chilly day will necessitate using less.
Are you ready to put your skills to the test and make the classic Easter treat?
Our greatest hot cross buns recipe is deserving of a place on your table throughout the year.
Curious Questions: Why do we eat hot cross buns at Easter?
Annunciata Elwes delves into the strange history of the hot cross bun in the United Kingdom. All good Christians indulge in hot cross buns for breakfast during this time of year, content in the knowledge that they are fulfilling a holy obligation. In 1836, the magazineFigaro published a statement to that effect. Despite the hot cross bun’s ongoing popularity — Tesco alone sells 70 million by the end of Easter weekend — it’s unlikely that anyone today who enjoys a toasted and buttered hot cross bun at breakfast, teatime, or any other time for that matter gives much thought to the religiosity of their behavior.
- She did so because she believed there was too much Popery in their popularity, which she regarded to be excessive.
- When they were first mentioned, they were in the 1773 Poor Robin’s Almanack, which seems a little late when you realize that a monk in St Albans, England, is credited with distributing them to the poor in the 14th century.
- This may have been a commemorative gesture after all; Christ having been crucified half a century before, and some historians say that there were Christians in Pompeii by AD79– but it’s more probable that they were carved in this manner to make them simpler to break apart.
- According to Eostre, the goddess of the dawn and fertility, the cross represented each of the Moon’s four parts.
- As a result, the cross atop the bun came to represent not only the Crucifixion, but also the meeting point of the Earth (horizontal) and Heaven (vertical) – the meeting point of the human and the divine.
- a cross bun to prevent faintness’ for morning instead of a full English breakfast.
Among these were the customs of sharing a bun to ensure lasting friendship (‘Half for you and half for me,/Between us two shall goodwill be’), taking a bun to sea to prevent shipwreck, and, perhaps most commonly, hanging a bun in the kitchen for a year to bring luck (and, hopefully, not too many flies), as in: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs.” You may make do with one or two a-penny hot cross buns, whose value is that, if you believe what’s been told, they won’t become mouldy like regular bread.
In Essex, there is an 1807 hot cross bun, and in London, there is an 1821 hot cross bun, lending validity to the concept that a bun cooked on Good Friday does not decay, but Lord (or possibly Eostre) does not know why this is the case.
It is supposed that anyone who maintains one of these mealy gems for the whole year will almost certainly get married the following year.
Despite the fact that their cost has grown significantly over the last few centuries, hot-cross buns have, happily, remained quite unchanged.
Tom Aikens, the proprietor of Tom’s Kitchen, generously shared his recipe with Country Life magazine in this issue. thumb.jpg – hot cross buns – Easter is almost approaching, and if you find yourself with any leftover hot cross buns on your hands that haven’t been eaten yet, don’t worry.
Homemade Hot Cross Buns
The thrill one experiences at the sight of the first hot cross bun in the stores is a sensation like no other. Perhaps only rivaled by the first mince pie appearing at Christmas. Easter is just around the corner, which means it’s that time of year when everything gets white-egged and foil-wrapped. And while hot cross buns may just be one of the most wonderful delicacies on earth, and that alone should be enough reason to consume them, there are in fact traditions around the spiced buns and why they are so significant to Easter.
So what is the Significance of Hot Cross Buns?
The excitement that one experiences when they see the first hot cross bun appear in the stores is unlike any other sensation. Perhaps only the first mince pie to appear over the Christmas season comes close. This time of year is upon us — Easter is just around the horizon, complete with white eggs and foil wrapping. And while hot cross buns are unquestionably one of the most delicious delicacies on the planet, and that alone should be sufficient justification for consuming them, there are a number of traditions that surround the spiced buns and why they are so significant to the Easter celebrations.
One a penny… two a penny…
Naturally, the flavor of hot cross buns was so irresistible that many were willing to face persecution in order to prepare them at home. Eventually, they gained such widespread acceptance that the government was unable to enforce the prohibition, and the legislation was eventually repealed. The earliest recorded mention of hot cross buns was in the satirical journal Poor Robin’s Almanac in the early 1700s, and the song ‘Good Friday come this month, the old woman runs’ was written to commemorate the occasion.
Despite the fact that we are free to purchase and consume as many hot cross buns as we like, there are still certain superstitions associated with hot cross buns.
Another tradition holds that a bun from a batch prepared on Good Friday should be put in the rafters of your home to fend off bad spirits, prevent fires from igniting, and ensure that all bread baked during the year turns out flawlessly.
You won’t be disappointed.
Recipes Using Hot Cross Buns
After you’ve created the ideal hot cross bun, why not experiment with some of these delectable recipes to make them even better?
French Toast with Hot Cross Buns and Angry Hot Cross Bun Pudding with Meringue (Angry Hot Cross Bun Pudding with Meringue) Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about the significance of hot cross buns during Easter, have a look at our other Easter recipe inspiration.
The History of Hot Cross Buns – One or Two a Penny – ManyEats
Think about what comes to mind when you hear the phrase “hot cross buns.” “One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, hot cross buns!” cries the street seller, whose words are immortalized in the traditional nursery rhyme. (Perhaps it was recorded and played back?) Perhaps on Good Friday? The spiced sweet bun with a cross on top has become an essential component of Easter celebrations in the United Kingdom. The history of hot cross buns begins in antiquity and continues along a meandering path through the ages, which I am delighted to share with you.
The Skinny on Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns are a delicious, spicy baked pastry with a cross on top that is traditionally served on Good Friday. The baker can etch the cross into the dough, create it out of a paste of flour and water, or pipe it out of icing, depending on his or her preference. The following components are required for making hot cross buns: flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter, and milk. The inclusion of milk and butter in the dough signifies the conclusion of Lent, during which dairy products are prohibited – a practice I wrote about in greater detail on Pancake Tuesday.
Numerous recipes call for cinnamon and raisins, but there are many versions that add ingredients such as currants, dried cranberries, and candied citrus peels, among others.
In order to provide a glossy and sweet finish, the baker coats the buns with a syrup comprised of sugar and water after they have been finished baking.
Hot Cross Buns – the Old, the New, and theNot Cross Bun
Older hot cross buns recipes have a product that is similar to shortcrust pastry, which makes it simple to carve crosses into the dough using a pastry cutter. Modern hot cross buns are more like soft rolls, making it more convenient for the baker to decorate them with icing instead of buttercream. However, this is not always the case – you will discover recipes that aim for a more conventional texture as well. As an intriguing side point, the not cross bun is a newer variety that first appeared in Australia in 2014.
To be “not cross” implies to be “not furious” in this context.
Hot cross buns symbolism
Hot cross buns are associated with the Easter celebration and the resurrection of Jesus, according to Christians. The cross on top of the bun signifies Jesus’ crucifixion, while the spices on the bun signify his embalming before being laid to rest in the tomb.
Easter and Good Friday
Christians who observe the customs of Lent abstain from eating dairy products from the evening of Shrove Tuesday until midday on Good Friday, the day before Easter Sunday. Good Friday is traditionally the day when hot cross buns are consumed.
The History of Hot Cross Buns
Despite the fact that cross buns are a classic Christian baking staple, history demonstrates that they have unique pagan origins. Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon, was worshipped by the ancient Romans, who used to present cross-marked buns to her. The remnants of cross-marked cakes were discovered during an investigation in the ruins of Pompeii. The Saxons ate round cakes known as ‘hlaf,’ which were supposed to be similar to the Roman loaves and to have been the forerunners of the British Christian cross buns.
It is believed by some scholars that the term “bun” itself derives from the ancient Greek word “boun,” which literally translates as “ox” or “cow.” It is possible that, in this version of the story, worshipers sacrificed a cake to the gods instead of a real animal.
Christian Adoption of the Hot Cross Bun
When Christianity entered on the scene in Britain, it abolished pagan worship rituals but preserved their springtime festival dates, dressing them up to be more in line with the Church’s teachings as a result of the Reformation. It was the cross of horns that became the Christian emblem of Jesus’ cross, and their Spring Equinox celebrations became Easter – which is still celebrated according to the lunar calendar as a moveable festival. It is believed that the Alban bun, which originated in England’s St.
Beginning approximately 1361, Brother Thomas Rodcliffe, a monk at the monastery, would pass out these buns to the destitute on Good Friday, according to legend.
We know that they included flour, freshly dissolved fresh yeast, eggs, currants, and grains of paradise or cardamom.
Rise in Popularity
Although cross buns are becoming increasingly popular in England, they have not been without controversy! During the reign of Elizabeth I, the London Clerk of Markets placed a banon bakery-produced cross buns in response to a (false) allegation that the buns have therapeutic or magical properties. In 1592, Queen Elizabeth I issued an edict that restricted the sale of cross buns to only three days a year: Good Friday, Christmas, and funerals. Despite this, no obstacle could prevent the good people of England from eating their favorite Easter treat!
The consequences, on the other hand, were rather lenient: once someone was caught red-handed, their unlawful buns were collected and distributed to the less fortunate.
Earning the NameHot Cross Buns
Initially known just as “cross buns,” the term “hot cross buns” is said to have originated from a yell made by sellers when selling them on the streets. Poor Robin’s Almanac published the earliest print reference of hot cross buns associated with Good Friday in 1733, immortalizing the London street scream you are already familiar with: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman rushes / with one or two a penny hot cross buns.”
The Widow’s Son
There’s a fascinating story between hot cross buns and an ancient London bar named The Widow’s Son, which was built somewhere in the 1830s or 1840s and is now closed. In accordance with local legend, the tavern was once a cottage owned by a widow whose son had gone off to sea. Every Good Friday, while the mother awaited the return of her son, she cooked a hot cross bun for him to enjoy. In the absence of his return, the buns continued to accumulate in a net suspended from the ceiling, which she kept in place year after year.
It had 84 buns by 1921, one for each year from at least 1837, according to the bar’s history book. Despite the fact that the tavern has changed hands multiple times, the hot cross bun tradition has survived to the present. The Bun House is what the locals refer to it as.
Hot Cross Buns Statistics, Superstitions, and Trivia
There’s a fascinating story between hot cross buns and a historic London bar called The Widow’s Son, which was created somewhere in the 1830s or 1840s and still exists today. In accordance with local legend, the tavern was formerly a cottage owned by a widow whose son had gone off to war. Each year on Good Friday, the mother cooked a hot cross bun for her son to enjoy as she awaited his return. In the absence of his return, the buns continued to accumulate in a net hanging from her ceiling, which she kept in place year after year.
It had 84 buns by 1921, one for every year from at least 1837, according to the bar’s website.
“The Bun House,” as the locals refer to it.
- Hot cross buns are said to guard against shipwrecks, as in the case of the Widow’s Son. Sickness can be warded off with hot cross buns
- Hot cross buns prepared on Good Friday will keep for a year in the refrigerator. By hanging a hot cross bun from the rafters of your kitchen, you will ensure that all of your other baked items rise precisely and remain mold free. It will also keep you safe from bad spirits and unexpected flames, among other things. Irish folklore states that if two individuals share a hot cross bun, they will stay close friends throughout the year (“half for you and half for me
- Between us two good luck shall be”).
More than a Penny: Hot Cross Buns
Isn’t baking hot cross buns a festive tradition? It was fantastic to go into the history of the meals, starting with blasting out the notes on the recorder and singing the song. And I do hope that some of those traditions come to fruition. Now that we’ve shared our hot cross buns story, I hope we can be friends for at least a year – if not longer!
The History Behind Why We Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter
What a delightful ritual hot cross buns are! It was fantastic to delve into the history of the meals, which began with blasting out the notes on the recorder and singing the song. Some of those traditions are important to me, and I hope they will be fulfilled. With the hot cross buns story behind us, I hope we can be friends for a year — or perhaps longer!
What Are Hot Cross Buns?
According to Elizabeth Hopwood, Ph.D., lecturer in English at Loyola University Chicago and acting director of the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities, “Hot cross buns are yeast buns made with milk, butter, and spices and dotted with raisins or another dried fruit,” explains the traditional Easter treat. Prior to baking, the buns are scored in order to produce the prominent cross on top. Hot Cross Buns with Apricot and Raisin Filling
How to Make Hot Cross Buns
- The dry ingredients (flour, yeast, water, sugar, and warm baking spices such as cardamom and cloves) are combined first, followed by the addition of the dried fruit (usually raisins). Knitting follows (it should take no more than three to five minutes), and then comes the first rise. One of our favorite parts comes next, after a six-hour slumber in the fridge: pressing down the risen hot cross bun dough. This is the point at which the buns begin to take shape: Partially divide the dough into equal-sized sections, form into balls, and leave to rise again on a sheet pan until the rounds have doubled in size. Once the dough has been doubled, all that is needed is to score it with a crisscross pattern, bake it, then glaze or decorate it as desired.
Find out how to make the recipe.
Why We Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter
Find out how to make the dish.
The Evolution of the Easter Hot Cross Bun – Good Food Gift Card
Despite the fact that Easter is still a few weeks away, you’ve undoubtedly already spotted hot cross buns popping up at your local bakery or grocery store. They are a classic Easter favorite, and they are especially great when served warm with butter and a cup of tea! However, is the cross on top of the buns a reference to the Christian celebrations of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, or is it a more accurate depiction of their origins? The hot cross bun’s origins are unknown. Technically speaking, the roots of hot cross buns may be traced all the way back to Egyptian times.
- The cross, on the other hand, was said to be designed to mimic ox horns in shape.
- So it wasn’t simply hot cross buns that were emblazoned with crosses all the time.
- Anglo-Saxons used to construct little loves studded with dried fruits in honor of Eastre, the goddess of spring and fertility, according to Kate Colquhoun, author of Taste: The Story Of Britain Through Its Cooking (2007).
- Christian traditions are a collection of beliefs and practices that are based on the Christian faith.
- First and foremost, during the 1600s (under the influence of the Puritans, a movement within the Protestant Church of England), the practice of marking all baked products with a cross was criticized as a manifestation of Catholic behavior and was eventually discontinued.
- They came to the conclusion that only bread, cakes, and buns baked on Good Friday would be allowed to carry the cross as a symbol of the crucifixion.
- In addition, they believe that the spices used in hot cross buns are quite important.
The buns also have a religious link because Good Friday and Easter Sunday are both observed during the Season of Lent, and hot cross buns have become a staple of Lent fasting.
Modern-day buns, on the other hand, are much sweeter, made with cream instead of water in the dough, and served hot with plenty of butter!
Aside with milk, butter, and sugar, they also add sultanas, apple, cinnamon, and a smidgeon of orange zest to the mix.
During the weeks leading up to Easter, you may have seen a number of unusual hot cross bun variants on the shelves.
There’s toffee, orange and cranberry, and apple and cinnamon, among other flavors to choose from.
If it sounds appealing, you can find a fantastic recipe for it here, as well as vegan alternatives.
Hot cross cakes are dipped in chocolate at Adriano Zumbo’s, after which they are filled with cinnamon and raisin mousse, orange gel, and a bit of bread and butter pudding to make an even sweeter version of the traditional bakery delight.
Another option is to try the frankincense-glazed buns at Newtown’s Black Star Pastry, which will give you the impression that you’ve entered a chapel due to the strong aroma. Hot cross buns are a delightful way to get into the Easter mood, and there are many different varieties to choose from.
The following two tabs alter the content of the section below. Mireille Kilgour has been a successful businesswoman in the hotel industry for over 35 years. She was born in France and has worked as a successful company owner and operator for a variety of Sydney-based establishments. Leading the sector with high-profile institutions such as Lamrock Café Bondi, she has an unending enthusiasm for the business and now has the pleasure of assisting restaurants in filling their tables with the new Good Food Gift Card program, which was launched in September.
Hot Cross Buns: Why do we eat them at Easter… history and facts
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What are hot cross buns?
In baking terms, a hot cross bun is a sweet spiced bun prepared with raisins or currants that is covered in a sugary glaze and has a white cross drawn on the top. Good Friday is historically celebrated with the consumption of hot cross buns in the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia.
Why do we eat hot cross buns?
It is customary to eat hot cross buns to celebrate the conclusion of Lent since they are prepared with dairy products, which are prohibited during this time of year. The cross marking on the bun represents Jesus’ crucifixion, while the spices added in the dough reflect the embalming process that took place before his death. The BBC reported in 2010 that then-Church of England spokesman Steve Jenkins said of the crosses: “They are fairly full of Christian symbolism.” You have the bread, which represents the communion, you have the spices, which represent the spices that Jesus was wrapped in in the tomb, and you have the cross.”