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Bergen County Historical Society : Hot Cross Buns

Bergen County Historical Society

River Edge Nj, Bergen County Historical Society on April 15th presented Friday’s Fare at Historic New Bridge Landing . Hot Cross Buns A traditional spiced/sweet bun eaten on Good Friday, marking the end of Lent, was incised with a cross representing the crucifixion, & with spices used for embalming, as well as believed to carry magical or medicinal properties. The 6th century AD Greeks were making spiced cakes marked with a cross, & Pagan Saxons honored the goddess of spring Eostre [Easter] with loaves marked with crosses, representing the four stages of the moon or four seasons

The modern cross bun story originates in 1364 when a monk, brother Thomas Rodcliffe at St. Alban’s Abbey, gave ‘Alban Buns” to the local poor on Good Friday. His original recipe is kept secretly within the walls of the Abbey. From the time of Elizabeth I [1592] through James I reign [1603–1625], the London Clerk of Markets forbade the sale of cross buns, except at burials, Good Friday, or Christmas. Punishment for the transgression was the forbidden product would be given away to the poor. This resulted in the bun being made in homes, away from the government’s prying eyes. A London street cry added “hot” to the name, proclaiming its freshness; “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. One-a-penny, two-a-penny hot cross buns.” – Poor Robin’s Almanac, 1733.


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