Supermarkets usually come under fire about stocking their shelves with hot cross buns just days after Christmas.  But is it too soon for hot cross buns? Or should hot cross buns be available all year round to consume? Either way, these delicious treats are more than just a sweet bun.

A traditional hot cross bun is a doughy, raisin-studded and glazed sweet treat marked with a pastry cross. Described as a ‘spiced sweet bun,’ they are historically eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and India. The buns mark the end of lent with different parts of the hot cross bun conveying different meanings. The cross represents the crusification of Jesus and the spices inside remind Christians of the spices placed on the body of Jesus.

Myths and traditions

Here are a few fun facts before you devour your next hot cross bun this Easter. If you’ve already hit up your local supermarket, all this talk about hot cross buns will leave you wanting more.

hot cross buns

United Kingdom

An old English superstition concludes that hot cross buns baked on Good Friday will remain mould-free for an entire year and are kept as lucky charms from one year to the next.


A decree was issued in 1952 forbidding the sale of hot cross buns at burials, Christmas and Good Friday. However, it’s safe to assume this is no longer true as we tend to see the buns hitting the shelves on New Year’s Day in Australia. Oh and it’s safe to say, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries that eat chocolate hot cross buns (not that we're complaining).

hot cross buns

Image from Flickr user: Boris Tassev


Old Irish folklore believe if you share a hot cross bun with someone – it will cement your friendship for a whole entire year!

New Zealand

Kiwi’s love their hot cross buns and it’s unlikely you’ll find any leftovers in the house. Kiwi’s also love to make variations of the old school recipe. Why not try a hot cross bun bread and butter pudding? It sounds absolutely delicious and will have your tastebuds roaring.

hot cross buns

Image from Flickr user: Monica Wang


Last year, a Canadian bakery forgot to cut traditional crosses into the tops of the hot cross buns. Rather than throwing them away, the baker made the best of the situation and called them ‘secular buns’.


It’s no surprise that Indians love these spiced fruit buns! But did you know Indians prefer to eat eggless hot cross buns? Eggs and meat are forbidden leading up to Easter, so flaxseed meal is often the substitute.

Why not share a hot cross bun this Easter with someone special to guarantee one year of solid friendship – especially if you both sing ‘one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns’.