Hot Cross Buns and What They Mean -- Plus a Video

Hot cross buns recently went on sale at Amy's Bread, for $1.50 apiece, and will be sold through Easter Sunday.

The small-yeast risen rolls appear sometime during Lent, in the run-up to Good Friday. Each roll is crisscrossed with white icing, and ramified with candied fruit. The frosting is said to symbolize the cross on which Christ died.

The rolls first became known as hot cross buns in 1733, but by then already had an ecclesiastical context, though the origin of the rolls is said to be in pagan times. At various periods in their history, they've been banned, especially in England, as a throwback to papish times, when England was religiously ruled by Rome.

Queen Elizabeth made a decree that permanently permitted them to be sold in England, but only on religious holidays. This practice of selling them before Easter has persisted in the United States to this day.

Indeed, the buns seem like a throwback to a much earlier era, which is part of the pleasure of eating them. And, one wonders, who would want to have them all year long?

The Amy's Bread Chelsea Market store.

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Jack Barber
Jack Barber

I'm sure the author is well aware, but...

HxB from Rudy's (in Ridgeword) blow these yuppie buns out of the water.


Got some last Fri, and they'll have them thru Easter.

If you're making a special trip, particularly after 12p, I would call to make sure they have some left, as they often sell out.