Actually, I do thank Christ for hot cross buns

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Opinion

It’s the time of year when the pedants moan about the pagan origins of Easter and the arrogance of imposing a northern European religious rite on this proud South Pacific nation. 

Holy heck, not even the crosses on hot cross buns are authentic. It seems they’re Saxon inventions, syncretised by the Church in a deft rebrand.

Will these colonial injustices never end?

Well, I for one, thank Christ for the crosses on my hot Saxon buns. I’m reveling in the wafts of cinnamon and warm dough that are drifting through the house right now. I slowly peel the piped crosses and nibble on them in a sort of prayerful discipline before embarking on the full assumption. Butter is a must. Jam is tolerated, if a little Catholic for my wife’s liking. 

Hot cross buns are a means of grace – first comes the 40-day fast of Lent, then comes the celebration in the form of spicy carbs and glorious fats.

The pedants are missing the point. 

Every generation reinterprets the past for its own consumption. Building on traditions to make them relevant only adds to their potency. In the Hebrew tradition, the rainbow is seen as a promise that there would never again be a catastrophic flood. God knows, we deserve it. But grace prevails. These days it’s also a symbol of LGBTQ+ love and acceptance. They’re not incompatible when you give it a moment’s thought.

I don’t care that hot cross buns have German roots. I don’t care that Easter downunder is cockamamy. 

What I do care about is using this one, brief moment in a busy year to reflect on the things that really matter. The crosses represent decisions, a crossroads, if you like. Will I continue on my path without examination? Or will I use Easter to die a little – to give up resentments and bad habits and turn my mind to renewal and grace? Will I seek justice and peace or just toss more gasoline on the hateful dumpster fires on Twitter. So tempting.

I like hot cross buns and what they represent. And no amount of historicism will rob me of that joy. Happy Easter pedants and believers alike. There’s enough here for everyone.

About the Author

Vincent Heeringa

Hi, I'm Vincent! I'm a co-founder of The Feed, a writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in food, tech and sustainability. In a previous life I was publisher of Idealog, Stoppress, NZ Marketing and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. I'm also the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’. When I'm not burning the midnight oil, I'm hitting the town or planting trees with my wife Sarah. Ping me to talk about all things food. @vheeringa

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