Hot Cross Buns were baked in the medieval period as an offering to the Germanic goddess Eostre, the goddess of spring, as a celebration of Easter. A cross was marked on top of the bun symbolising the four phases of the moon and four seasons of the year. As per Christian tradition, the buns were eaten on Good Friday marking the end of Lent, the cross on top of the bun signifying the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the spices inside the bun symbolising the spices used to embalm Him before entombment.
Folklore has several tales of superstition woven around the buns – a piece of bun fed to an unwell person will aid quick recovery; when taken along on a voyage the bun will protect sailors against shipwrecks; hung over the kitchen hearth it will ward off evil spirits, and so on. However the one which I like best is that a Hot Cross Bun shared with friends will ensure a strong and enduring bond in the year ahead! So come, let’s break bread and celebrate our friendship!
– Narendra Nayak © 2018