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A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy a ...
in the United Kingdom; Ireland; Australia; India; New Zealand; South Africa; and some parts of the Americas, including Canada and the United States. The bun marks the end of
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later; depending on the Christian denomination a ...
and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the
cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed ...

cross
representing the
crucifixion of Jesus The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea (Roman province), Judea, most likely in either AD 30 or AD 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by # ...
, and the
spice SPICE ("Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis")Nagel, L. W, and Pederson, D. O., ''SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis)'', Memorandum No. ERL-M382, University of California, Berkeley, Apr. 1973Nagel, Lauren ...
s inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial and may also include orange peel to reflect the bitterness of his time on the Cross. They are now available all year round in some places. Hot cross buns may go on sale in Australia and New Zealand even as early as
New Year's Day New Year's Day, also simply called New Year or New Year's, is observed on 1 January, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in Octobe ...
or after
Christmas Christmas (or the Feast of the Nativity) is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration by billions of people Observance of Christmas ...
.


History

In many historically Christian countries, plain buns made without dairy products (forbidden in
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later; depending on the Christian denomination a ...
until
Palm Sunday Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Wee ...
) are traditionally eaten hot or toasted after midday Good Friday. The
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group native to Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, Italy, Greeks in Turkey#History, Turkey, Greeks in Egypt, Egypt and, to a l ...
in 6th century AD may have marked cakes with a cross. One theory is that the Hot Cross Bun originates from
St Albans St Albans () is a cathedral city in Hertfordshire Hertfordshire (; often abbreviated Herts) is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London t ...
, in England, where Brother Thomas Rodcliffe, a 14th-century
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ...

monk
at
St Albans Abbey St Albans Cathedral, officially the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban but often referred to locally as "the Abbey", is a Church of England cathedral in St Albans, England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that i ...
, developed a similar recipe called an 'Alban Bun' and distributed the bun to the local poor on Good Friday, starting in 1361. In the time of
Elizabeth I of England Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to ...
(1592), the London Clerk of Markets issued a decree forbidding the sale of hot cross buns and other spiced breads, except at burials, on Good Friday, or at Christmas. The punishment for transgressing the decree was forfeiture of all the forbidden product to the poor. As a result of this decree, hot cross buns at the time were primarily made in domestic kitchens. Further attempts to suppress the sale of these items took place during the reign of
James I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and ...
(1603–1625). The first definite record of hot cross buns comes from a London street cry: "Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns", which appeared in '' Poor Robin's Almanac'' for 1733. Food historian Ivan Day states, "The buns were made in London during the 18th century. But when you start looking for records or recipes earlier than that, you hit nothing."


Traditions

English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy a ...
will not spoil or grow mouldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.


Other versions

In the United Kingdom, the major supermarkets produce variations on the traditional recipe such as toffee, Orange (fruit), orange-cranberry, salted caramel and chocolate, and apple-cinnamon. In Australia, coffee-flavoured buns are also sold in some bakeries. There are also sticky date and caramel versions, as well as mini versions of the traditional bun. Other newer variations that can be purchased from major supermarkets include choc chip; chocolate and cherry, butterscotch, apple & cinnamon, banana and caramel and white chocolate and raspberry. The Not Cross Bun is a variation on the traditional hot cross bun. It uses the same ingredients but contains a different marking piped on top of the bun instead of a cross. Sonoma Baking Company in Sydney claims to have produced the first commercially sold Not Cross Bun in Easter 2012, which in Sonoma's case is piped with an 'S'. In Slovakia and in Czechia, ''mazanec'' is a similar cake or sweet bread eaten at Easter. It often has a cross marked on top.


The cross

The traditional method for making the cross on top of the bun is to use shortcrust pastry, though some 21st century recipes recommended a paste of flour and water.


See also

* Pesaha Appam * Bath bun * Fruit bun * Sally Lunn bun * List of British breads * List of buns * List of foods with religious symbolism * Semla Scandinavian and German festive Lenten bun


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Hot Cross Bun Australian breads British breads Buns Christmas food Easter bread English cuisine English traditions New Zealand breads Sweet breads Yeast breads