Don't get hot and cross, have a bun

Mon 29 Mar 

Don't get hot and cross, have a bun

Easter is rushing towards us at just the end of this week bringing with it the excitement of the change in the seasons with the weather getting a little cooler and the anticipation of the family holidaymakers streaming into Port to take advantage of the school holidays.


Port Douglas and it's surrounding region traditionally comes alive at Easter with visitors taking trips to the reef and rainforest and dining in the sixty or so eateries around town. Fortunately some traditions, even for our welcome visitors, remain strong regardless of modern trends, styles or geography.  One of those is the irresistible tradition of the hot cross bun. It doesn't matter where you are in the western influenced world, everyone loves a Hot Cross bun at Easter but do you know anything about these delicious little bakers delights. What are they made of, how did the tradition start and do they really ward off evil spirits?

OK, let's take one question at a time. A hot cross bun is a type of sweet spiced bun made with currants or raisins and leavened with yeast. It has a cross marked on the top which might be effected in one of a variety of ways, but usually, either pastry or flour and water mixture and they are 'yummy'.
Second, why did the tradition start? In many historically Christian countries, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing apparently as a symbol of the crucifixion. They are actually believed to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" was not heard until 1773. It is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon). It is thought that "Eostre" is probably the origin of the name "Easter".

Can Hot Cross Buns really help ward off evil spirits or keep you safe? Well, there's some interesting superstitions that support this theory regarding Hot Cross buns. Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if you recite the following words while you're eating them with your mate/s, "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be". Admittedly your mate will probably look at you with a slightly quizzical expression or even move to another table, so you may want to pick on who you try this! Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten to ensure good luck, good health and great happiness. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck (Ed Note: Obviously they didn't bake any on the Titanic!). And finally, if hung a bun in the kitchen, it is said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.

Editors Comments: Before writing this article I just thought Hot Cross buns were scrumptious with or without butter but now I see that they are an essential part of my dietary regime to help ensure my future health, wealth and happiness.