Today’s celebration may cost you one a penny, two a penny, or – with inflation – most likely a bit more. September 11 is National Hot Cross Bun Day!
Why this religiously significant meal is celebrated in September is beyond me. It’s usually eaten on Good Friday, but I suppose since that date fluctuates widely every year, 9/11 is as good a day as any. These small, toasted buns are decorated with a cross made of white icing to celebrate the Crucifixion. The ancient Greeks were the first ones to mark cakes with a cross, and the Saxons did the same to honor the goddess Eostre (most likely where the word Easter was derived). There are many superstitions surrounding Hot Cross Buns, including:
- Sharing a hot cross bun with somebody else will ensure friendship throughout the year, especially if you say “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” at the time.
- Hot cross buns baked or served on Good Friday will not spoil or mold during the following year.
- Giving somebody who is ill a piece of a hot cross bun will help them recover.
- Hanging a hot cross bun in your kitchen will protect it from fire and will make all your breads rise perfectly.
- Taking a hot cross bun on a sea voyage will prevent a shipwreck.
- Because there is a cross on the buns, some people believe they should be kissed prior to eating.
Interesting! We were all ready to bake our own hot cross buns from scratch; we even dragged out the bread machine and put it on the counter. And then, my mom called. “Guess what I found in the freezer? A package of hot cross buns!” How fortuitous. She had purchased these from Safeway right before Easter – of course, because that’s when they’re traditionally eaten – and for some inexplicable reason tucked them into the freezer and forgot about them. Her oversight benefitted us, though. We went over for dinner tonight, and for dessert, had the hot cross buns. These were topped with lemon, which I had never seen before, but still pretty good.