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Pattaya Daily News

22 April 2011 :: 17:04:37 pm 53049

Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns!

This year Good Friday falls on April 22nd following by Easter Sunday on April 24th. Easter season is the time for family gatherings and the giving of gifts and cards. While Easter eggs are a popular choice of treat for the children, hot cross buns are as equally significant for the adults during the Lenten season.
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Hot cross buns are traditionally served on Good Friday throughout the world, predominantly in England.

A hot cross bun is a spiced bun marked with a cross on top.   These buns are traditionally made from rich yeast dough containing flour, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, currants and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and cloves.

A good hot cross bun should be round, well-risen and highly glazed, with a cross on top.  The crumbs should be fairly pale, not too soft or sticky.  The flavour should be light of sweet spices and/or candied peel and dried fruit.

The origins of hot cross buns are a mixture of pagan and Christian beliefs.

According to the pagan origins, the Saxons worshipped Eostre, the goddess of dawn and spring.  At the beginning of the spring season they celebrated a month-long festival, marking the transition from Winter to Spring.  During this festival the Saxons offered the buns to the goddess “Eostre”.  They marked the buns with a simple cross to represent four phases of the moon.  


The word “Easter” was believed to have derived from the name of the goddess ‘Eostre’.  Meanwhile the English word “bun” possibly came from the Greek “boun”, which referred to a ceremonial circular or crescent shaped cake that was an offering to the gods. 

Many superstitions regarding the bread baked on Good Friday dated back to very early time.   For example, in England people believed that bread baked on this day could be hardened in the oven and kept throughout the year to protect the house from fire. 

Meanwhile sailors took the hot cross buns on their voyage to prevent shipwreck.   A Good Friday loaf was often buried in a pile of corn to protect it from rats, mice and weevils.   The buns were believed to have medicinal purposes if it was finely grated and mixed with water.

According to some English people, a hung hot cross bun could protect the house from bad luck in the coming year.  Others also believed that if the ingredients were mixed, the dough prepared and the buns baked on Good Friday itself, the hanging buns will never get mouldy. 

Some historians dated the origin of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ as an Easter Tradition back to the 12th century.  In 1361, an Anglican monk named Father Thomas Rocliffe made small spiced buns marked with the cross. He then distributed these buns to the poor visiting the monastery at St. Albans’s Abbey in Hertfordshire, Southern England on Good Friday, known at the time as the “Day of the Cross”.   His noble deed was soon spread throughout country.

Hot cross buns became very popular in England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  An English nursery rhyme commonly heard on Good Friday was:

Hot Cross buns! Hot Cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot Cross buns!

If your daughters won’t eat them,
Give them to your sons;
But if you have none of those little elves,
Then you must eat them all yourselves!

In England, Protestant English monarchs viewed the buns as a threat for the Catholic belief because they were made from dough that had been kneaded for consecrated bread used at Mass or Holy Communion. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns but they were too popular.  Instead in 1592, Queen Elizabeth I issued the law permitting bakers to sell hot cross buns only during Easter, Christmas or at funerals.  

When the Christians gained a firmed position in Britain their leaders banned the pagan Easter traditions. However, the leaders soon discovered that it was more effective to give them Christian symbolism rather than completely eliminate them.   In 782 A.D., the Christian leaders reinterpreted the meaning of the cross on the buns as the symbol of the Cross upon which Christ was crucified.


Nowadays, the buns are baked in various forms and ingredients in many countries on Good Friday. 

In the UK, major supermarkets modify the traditional recipes by adding ingredients such as toffee, orange, cranberry, apple and cinnamon.

In Australia, the popular chocolate buns are made from the same mixture of the spices but the chocolate chips are used instead of currants. 

In the Czech Republic, mazanec is a similar cake or sweet bread eaten at Easter time. It often has a cross marked on top.

Hot cross buns can be eaten warm or split, toasted with butter for breakfast, tea or a snack.  When the buns become a bit stale, the leftovers can be made into bread and butter pudding.

During this festive weekend, let’s enjoy a Good Friday with the traditional hot cross buns and celebrate the Easter Sunday with the sweet delight of chocolate eggs.

Credit by: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_cross_bun , www.timesonline.co.uk , www.creativeyouthideas.com , www.foodtimeline.org

Photo : Internet   Category : Lifestyle

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