Of Easter Eggs And Hot Cross Bunnies

Once again, it was Lin who suggested this topic for this week’s LBC Friday post when a few of us write blog posts on the same topic. I marvel at the synchronicity of it all when I think back to her list without any dates, and the topic just neatly fitting into Good Friday!


Before I come to write about Easter Eggs, let me address Hot Cross Buns. In India, due to our colonial English connection we call them buns and it is for the first time that I have come across them being called bunnies. Bunnies here would mean rabbits! So, please indulge me while I talk about buns rather than bunnies.

It was in Montessori School that I first heard of Hot Cross Buns. The school was run run by Christians and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were taught this during Easter. We were taught to sing the nursery rhyme there and not ever having seen or eaten one, I was quite confused about what it meant. At home, my parents decided to show me what it was and some buns were procured but to the best of my recollection they were neither hot nor did they have the crosses on them. It was much later when I was much older that I was able to see and eat a genuine hot cross bun. In India, it is still extremely rare to come across hot cross buns except during Easter time, though cold buns without the cross on them are available in just about every grocery shop. Most grocers even sell buns for making hamburgers at home, but again, without the crosses on them.

The song that got me interested in Hot Cross Buns is this one.


Strangely enough, my son Ranjan had brought some easter eggs just last week from a friend of his who runs a patisserie in one of our neighbourhood shopping centers. I thoroughly enjoyed the marzipan shell and not so much the toffees inside.

Easter eggs again were totally unknown to me till my early thirties. I had imagined that easter eggs were some kind of pastry made to look like eggs till then. When I was posted to a small  town in Kerala in the mid seventies, the local baker had made easter eggs for easter and that was the first time that I understood what they meant.

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34 Responses to Of Easter Eggs And Hot Cross Bunnies

  1. shackman says:

    I always enjoy your non-western take on western things. It seems Easter and the things celebrated have pagan origins – a similar them to many things Christia I do not care for hot cross anything but had a lot of fun with my kids and now grandkids when it comes to Easter eggs.

  2. Dunnasead says:

    Make that two, Ramana. It’s always fascinating how other cultures do things, and see our customs. As for the Easter eggs- the Germans have what they call present eggs- about the size of a large softball and consisting of colored layers of different kinds of sweet gook. Good for a six month supply of after dinner sweets. Or dental visits. Glad everything is now straightened out on our pages. Can’t wait to write April Fools.
    Dunnasead recently posted..And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Easter Eggs And Hot Cross Bunnies

  3. wisewebwoman says:

    All based on eggs and fertility, pagan rituals, hot cross buns were more like Chelsea buns with icing on top.

    wisewebwoman recently posted..Joy. A Commoner’s Perspective. 1.

    • Oddly enough one of our local newspapers had an article elaborating on exactly this, earlier today and I found it quite fascinating. Ostara was apparently a Norse Goddess of fertility.

  4. tammy j says:

    i love that you know and also sang that nursery rhyme!
    i remember it well.
    but that little video of it was darling. i haven’t eaten many hot cross buns in my life.

  5. I never liked hot cross buns, but I did like the rhyme. We also loved coloring hard boiled eggs and getting baskets of candy from the Easter Bunny.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Poor Fence

  6. When I was growing up in a Ukrainian Canadian community, Easter eggs were hand painted, after being hard-cooked. After the eggs was immersed in the first hot dye, designs made with hot wax were drawn on the egg, after which the egg was immersed in a darker color, and so on, until the egg was covered with detailed, beautiful designs and patterns. I can’t believed I was able to remember this process!
    Still the Lucky Few recently posted..A Senior’s Early Years—The Old VW Van

    • Quite a tedious job that and I wonder if that practice still continues. Easter eggs here are all sweet with the outer coating made of hardened icing and inside some toffee pieces are left for breaking the case and finding for children. The outer case is edible too.

  7. Ursula says:

    My dear dear Ramana, my computer crashes – and I have timed it despite my normally not being measured – every SEVEN minutes. Hence I left you a message – alas it was wiped before I could press send. No loss.

    Before the inevitable happens again: The egg is a miracle. Think about it next time a chicken crosses your path.

    Hope is in on the threshold, the threshold being a beginning. From then onwards? I don’t know, Ramana. Upwards and onwards, down and below.

    To new beginnings and old endings,
    most affectionately,
    Ursula recently posted..Shake can well before use

  8. Kaitlin says:

    I thought I would reply here since I loved coloring those eggs! We had so much fun. I am not sure I have ever eaten a hot cross bun. Like you, I learned the rhyme long before I knew what one was. I want to say I first saw one in Scotland, but I am sure this is likely incorrect…

  9. Cathy in NZ says:

    Well we have a real variety of Easter type buns and eggs…

    And they don’t just start appearing in shops a week before the occasion, one of my friends saw hotX buns at Xmas!

    You can buy all kinds of flavoured buns here, not just with white crosses either, I saw some chocolate X’s this week (I can’t eat the buns now, the dam dried fruit in them).

    As for Easter eggs – well the chocolate versions are the most sought after – although you can get chocolate bunnies, chickies and anything else. Some with no centres, marshmallow centre, some that look like real eggs when you munch them

    One of my long time pals gets me some every year – this year a plain no centre chocolate and couple of Freddo bars – all bound up in excessive packaging!
    The lot he has got this year, aren’t all that crash hot, something missing in the chocolate ingredients – somewhat bland…

    • That is nice that you can buy hot cross buns throughout the year there. I am not at all surprised that you prefer the chocolate version of the eggs but why can’t you eat chocolate buns with dried fruits?

  10. nick says:

    As a chocolate lover, I prefer Easter eggs to hot cross buns. Buns in general I find very unexciting. Not sure what makes a bunny an Easter bunny as opposed to an ordinary bunny. In any case I’m more likely to see a squirrel at Easter than a bunny.

    Some families still have an Easter egg hunt using real chicken eggs painted different colours. Presumably the eggs are then made into omelettes or whatever.
    nick recently posted..Forgive and forget

  11. kylie says:

    I love a spicy, fruity, hot cross bun lightly toasted with butter dripping off it!

    We can get buns without crosses any time of year but the spice and fruit is never as generous.
    I am a little alarmed to see that these days they are selling fruitless, spiceless buns and calling them “childrens buns” Why do we in this culture insist that children must only eat bland food?

    • Most buns here too come without any dried fruits and I too love them lightly toasted with butter on the cut sides. Some buns do carry resins in them, but they are rare to come by.

  12. Looney says:

    I never heard of “hot cross buns”. My first impression on seeing the name was that they were buns with some sort of angry hot sauce on them.
    Looney recently posted..Chinese Character Torture

  13. Dick Klade says:

    Interesting post. The song was unfamiliar to me, but my mother baked hot cross buns occasionally throughout the year (I never heard of a hot cross “bunny” ), and we did not associate them with Easter. During the week before Easter we dyed and decorated eggs. They were included with chocolates and other candies in baskets the children searched for that were hidden in fairly obvious places in our home.
    Dick Klade recently posted..Keep on Smiling

    • Home baked hot cross buns would have been simply marvelous. Over here, we still depend on bakeries for them. We do not have such hide and find games in any of our festivals, but our sizeable Christian population does celebrate Easter and some of them do celebrate thus.

  14. Maira says:

    They are not called hot cross bunnies. Bunnies are indeed rabbits. Hot cross buns are supposed to be the symbolic return to eating sweet things after Lenten austerity. Easter comes from the word ‘Astarte’ who was as fertility goddess. Although Christianity is all about the ‘born again’ experience and resurrection from the dead, a lot of the symbolism of the resurrection feast of ‘Easter’ comes from pre-Christian era pagan spring festival symbolism, of which the rabbit is one, because they er, breed like, well, you know what I mean. Methinks our Lin was punning on the bun/bunny word co-incidence.

  15. Max Coutinho says:

    Hi Rummy,

    My nephews also say “bunnies” and not “buns” which in the beginning confused me a bit, but now I’m used to it.
    I don’t eat Easter eggs but I’d love to taste the hot cross buns (they seem delicious).

    Max Coutinho recently posted..The Term Daesh Legitimises ISIS & Submits World to Global Jihad

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