With Easter upon us, you can smell the distinctive smell of Hot Cross Buns in the air, and the supermarkets are likely to sell over 130 million (that's right, you read correctly) of these traditional spiced treats.
So, why the Hot Cross Bun? How did this tradition originate? We did some digging to find out the specific origins of this old-time favourite.
Why are they called Hot Cross Buns?
Traditionally made with raisins or currants and marked with a piped flour and water paste cross, each Hot Cross Bun element carries meaningful significance for the Christian faith. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the spices inside symbolize the spices put into Jesus' body after his death.
That, combined with the tradition of serving them hot, gives the Easter treat its name.
Where did the Hot Cross Bun come from?
Today's traditional recipe dates as far back as the 14th century when every Good Friday, an Anglican monk baked buns named the Alban Bun at St Albans Abbey and gave them to the poor. The story explains that these Alban Buns, gained popularity around England and became a symbol of the Easter Weekend.
Go further back in time, and you find that the Saxons baked buns marked with crosses in honour of Eostre, the Goddess of spring or light, who gave her name to Easter. Similar practices were found by the Druids, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans in honour of the moon Goddess. In fact, the remains of such buns can be found in an ancient bakehouse in Pompeii.
Interesting how this spicy, yeasty, fruity bun has transformed its way from paganism to Christianity. And still continues to evolve today.
Try our spin on this classic favourite, featuring our beloved Masala Chai Blend; these hot cross buns don't try to fix what hasn't broken; the spice blend enhances the flavours we've all grown to know and love. Get the recipe here.