Hot cross buns are made from yeast, spices, eggs, currants, raisins and other dried fruits; marked with a frosted cross and it is traditionally eaten on Good Friday.
The history of hot cross buns reaches as far back as the Assyrians. Small cakes were baked and offered to the God, Ishtar; Egyptians honoured their God Hathor with similar little cakes. Ancient Greeks made “bous bun” and dedicated them to Apollo, Diana and the moon. The Romans also made cakes for their moon Goddess, marking them with ox horns. Saxons ate similar cakes in honor of the Goddess Eostre (origin of word Easter).
The Mayans in Yucatan, the Aztecs in Mexico, and the Incas in Peru all offered small cakes of bread for the return of spring. Before Christianity these cakes were dedicated to the sun and earth.
When the buns took on a Christian note, Queen Elizabeth not wanting to rid the hot cross bun; she decreed they can still me made and eaten but were limited to religious occasions, such as Christmas, Easter or funerals.
There is some interesting folklore regarding hot cross buns: Because of the cross on the buns some say they should be kissed before being eaten.
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. The bun itself symbolizes the sun or the moon while the cross represents the four seasons or the four phases of the moon. When eaten they symbolize a year of good luck.
Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time.
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