Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter - Happy Spring

I'm making hot cross buns today - instead of raisins I'm using candied fruit. We had a friend that made them that way when our kids were little and we've always loved them. We are going to our youngest daughter's for brunch tomorrow - along with a group of friends and family.

Hot cross buns are a traditional favorite on Good Friday in England, a spicy currant or raisin studded yeast bun, topped with a "Cross" of lemon or orange flavored icing. While Christians have adopted the hot cross buns and the symbolism of the cross, it wasn't always this way. To Pagans, then as now, the cross was/is representative of the sun wheel, which symbolizes perfect balance at the time of the Spring Equinox.

Hot Cross Buns were originally used in pagan ceremonies and rituals and the Christian Church attempted to ban the buns, although they proved too popular for that. Fearing defeat on the issue, the church did the next best thing and "Christianized" the bread with Queen Elizabeth I passing a law which limited the bun's consumption to "proper" religious ceremonies, such as Christmas, Easter or funerals. Thus leaving out the pagan holidays and making criminals of those who wished to continue to worship in their own way.

Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns
If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns

That nursery rhyme was from the English street sellers who would sold their buns by crying out “Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns”. The first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733.

Long before the modern Easter was celebrated, the ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eostre. Buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross symbolizing the four quarters of the moon, or the four seasons, or the sun wheel). The goddess "Eostre" is the origin of the name "Easter".

In legend, the creature that would bring baskets filled with colored eggs, candy and toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter, was a bunny - the ancient symbol of fertility and rebirth in spring. The Easter Bunny would either put the baskets in a designated place or hide them somewhere in the house for the children to find when they woke up in the morning, depending on the tradition in the home.

I love all the stories of easter and spring - and I love this time of year - such good feelings as the spring creeps forward (or jumps in with both feet in some areas),

The trees begin blooming in our area . .

hundreds of tulip trees . . .
pink and white blossomed trees and . . .

the daffodils wave to us from roadsides and gardens.

One of the neatest things about where we lived in N. CA was that daffodils grew wild there. Amazing show of color just exploded along the roads and on the hillsides.

And soon to follow - the tulips!!!

Happy Easter everyone - however you choose to celebrate it!!!!


*karendianne. said...

Enjoy your Easter, too. Lovely, beautiful post.

Elenka said...

Great post. Uplifting!
Happy Easter to you and yours!!
Have a great day.

Linda B said...

What a lovely informative post. I also love spring and the time of renewal. All of the fields are being plowed are planted. Enjoy those hot cross buns. They look deeeelicious.

Dorothy said...

JoAnn, your posts are always so informative. Thank you for the lovely photos too.
Happy Easter to you and yours.

Crispy said...

Happy Easter to you too Jo >:o)
I loved your very informative post.


Tea with Willow said...

Hi there! I found your Blog via Leanne's at Somerset Seasons - I have really enjoyed your post all about Hot Cross Buns, it's amazing just how many 'christian' traditions actually have their roots in ancient Pagan rituals, isn't it?!

Willow x

belinda said...

...Happy Easter to you my friend. I know you all are going to have a wonderful 'Brunch' today...!!

Heidi said...

Wishing you a very happy Easter also. The trees are just beautiful. My English mum always buys hot cross buns when I visit her. How fun that you are baking them.

I too have a new ironing board cover and still need to put it on. It is a cheerful thing. I am so busy right now that it has just sat for weeks waiting to be used. :-)

Hugs ~

Purple Pam said...

What a great story of Easter and spring. Spring is the renewal of the spirit, new flowers, new birth. It is truly a joyful season. Happy Spring!

Christine Thresh said...

I love it when you gather information and present it on your blog. I learned some new things.
Happy Easter.

Carol VR said...

Is there a recipe for the HOT CROSS BUNS you'd be willing to part with???

Moon Daisies said...

Lovely Easter post, with pretty pictures, have a happy Easter, and nice brunch tomorrow.

Julie said...

Hot Cross Buns - Yet another pagan practice Christianized by the Christians. I did not know this.

Thank you for featuring so many lovely vintage Easter postcards. I went through my own collection last night and it made me so happy!

Peggy said...

Great post so informative and fun to read with illutrations!I hope you had a great holiday. We also have hot cross buns but only at Easter, on Ash Wednesday the first day of lent and also on Holy Thursday.

Teresa said...

Enjoyed your post and the pictures. Happy Easter to you!

Sabina said...

Wow, lots of amazing photos - great post!!