I love Easter. I love the chocolate and I love the hot cross buns. I love the time spent at home hanging out with friends and family.
What I do NOT love is the fact that they are in our supermarkets from January 2nd every year. I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these – I flat out refuse to buy them until a few days before Easter, and then we all eat them constantly! Toasted with lashings of butter. I also think you have to keep to the fruit ones. Chocolate or plain just do not cut it.
So, in honour of the about-to-happen-hot-cross-bun-bingefest here are a few random factoids to think about while munching on these tasties:
1. If you share a hot cross bun with someone else, you’re supposedly going to be friends for the year, especially if you say “Half for you and half for me. Between us two shall goodwill be” at the time.
2. They apparently protect against shipwrecks while at sea.
3. And, if you hang one in your kitchen, they’ll protect against fire and make all your breads rise perfectly – so long as each year your replace the bun.
4. Contrary to popular belief, hot cross buns pre-date Christianity. During the Pagan festival of 'Eastre', in which they celebrated the goddess Eostre, the Saxon’s prepared and ate buns marked with a cross. An ox was sacrificed and the bread was marked twice with the horns. Interestingly, the word for ‘sacred ox,’ ‘boun’, may be the origin of the term ‘bun.’
5. Eostre, as goddess of the dawn, was associated with spring, fecundity and the joy of new life. Her light was thought to be carried by hares.
6. Due to their pagan heritage, the Christian church attempted to ban the buns. However, when they proved too popular the church moved to Christianise them instead.
7. To maintain the religious significance and symbology of hot cross buns with resurrection, Queen Elizabeth I, passed a law during her rein, which only permitted bakers to produce the buns at Easter and Christmas.
8. Buns baked and served on Good Friday will not become mouldy during the subsequent year.
What are your Easter traditions?