Uproar in Britain over secular changes to ‘Hot Cross Buns’

A Hot Cross Bun in Chalfont St. Giles, United Kingdom
Credit: John Cutting, unsplash.com

According to historians, the hot Cross Bun, which is a spiced bun that includes fruit, such as orange peels, and a cross on top, was produced to be eaten on Good Friday.

It was used to mark the end of Lent, when Catholic and Orthodox Christians commemorated Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness by giving up some activity. Lent ends with the Easter Celebration.

The various items included in the production of the bun have symbolic meaning.

The cross on top marked the crucifixion of Christ. The spices symbolized the spices and perfumes used to anoint the cloth and Christ’s body at His burial (Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56), and the orange peel, often included in the bun, symbolized the bitterness associated with the crucifixion.

The bun was first created in 1361 by Brother Thomas Rodcliff, a monk at St. Albans Abbey in St. Albans, England. Initially, called the Albans bun, the monks handed them out to the poor on Good Friday.

Because of its strong association with Easter, there was an uproar recently, when a British supermarket replaced the cross found on top of the bun with a check mark, the Christian Post reports.

According to reports, the supermarket, Iceland, made the decision because of a recent survey which revealed that 20% of Brits preferred the check mark over the cross.

The store is also continuing to produce Hot Cross Buns with the traditional cross and noted that sales of the traditional buns are up 134% over the previous year, largely due to the uproar over the check mark.

While many have criticized the secularization of a religious icon, others have taken a more pragmatic approach.

“As others have said, Christians will continue to proclaim this marvelous good news regardless of what Iceland puts on its buns. My advice is: this Easter Sunday, instead of buying hot cross buns, go to church,” said Simon Calvert, deputy director of The Christian Institute, in an interview with the Times.

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