Are Hot Cross Buns only a South African Easter tradition?

2019-04-18 05:30
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Some believe they drive evil spirits away, while others just eat them because they are ridiculously delicious...

But where did the Hot Cross Bun originate from and for what reason? 

Is it only a South African thing? Do we own this tradition of eating these sweet, spiced buns (with or without raisins) over Easter? 

Nope.  

RECIPE: Don't like Hot Cross Buns? Try making this Easter skillet cookie 

The United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada, some parts of the US, New Zealand and South Africa have this pleasure. 

Here are there you'll find another country that has adopted this tradition, but these are the main countries and cultures that eat these regularly, during Easter time. 

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And now, in some places they are available all year round. You'll see this is South Africa too, as many retailers sell them throughout the year. In England, they sometimes go on sale as early as New Year's Day.

And the humble sweet bun has gone through quite a few transformations over the years, now even being sold gluten-free, with toffee filling or dotted with chocolate chips, and more. 

Urban legend has it that the first one was made by a 14th Century monk in England. First dubbed the 'Alban Bun' he handed buns out to the local poor on Good Friday back in 1361.

The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus while the sweet and spicy bun honours the embalming of Jesus' body. However, some have believed that these buns ward off evil spirits, while the Irish used to believe eating a Hot Cross Bun together with a chum, cemented a friendship, says Smithsonian.com.

WATCH: Easter foods and how they differ around the world

Queen Elizabeth I even believed it had medicinal powers, and only allowed people to consumer these powerful buns on special occasions: Good Friday, Christmas or at funerals.  

Can't claim this one, sorry Saffas. 

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