Good Friday and Hot Cross Buns

miniature Hot Cross buns
© F H Powell 2007

Hot cross buns were traditionally baked and eaten before noon on Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday). Good Friday falls on 6th April this year, being a “moveable feast” because the date of Easter is dependant on the moon, rather than on the calendar, so it will fall on a different day next year.

Hot cross buns are pagan in origin and were originally wheaten cakes baked in the spring to celebrate the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre and the return of spring. In ancient Greece and Rome there were also festive cakes made as a symbol of the sun (two crossed lines inside a circle), which divided the cake into four parts to represent the four seasons. When the two races of Romans and Anglo-Saxons merged in the UK both these customs were incorporated by the early Christian Church into their easter celebrations. Bakers also used to cut a coss into their bread to help the dough rise, this however was frowned upon by the church during and after the Reformation (mid 1600’s), unless the bread or cake was a Holy cake.

Hot cross buns today are spiced buns with dried fruit and have a flour paste cross on the top. A modern recipe for Hot cross buns can be found on this site.

Hot cross buns were traditionally baked during the morning of Good Friday. Another tradition was that a freshly baked hot cross bun was hung from the ceiling of the house (or church) and would protect all within the walls from harm. This probably worked better in the days before chimneys, as the smoke from the fire would preseve the bun! If the bun went mouldy diaster would strike the house during the coming year. The bun also supposedly had strong medicinal powers and small amounts of hot cross bun were grated and mixed with warm milk or water and given to both sick people and animals!

Individual (not on a plate) 1/12th scale Hot Cross buns can be purchased on our web shop for your dolls house.

Wishing all our readers a very Happy Easter 2007.