Hot cross buns are a type of sweet spiced bun made with currants or raisins and leavened with yeast. It has a cross marked on the top which might be effected in one of a variety of ways including: pastry, flour and water mixture, rice paper, icing, or intersecting cuts.
In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the crucifixion. First mention of hot cross buns was in 1733, it is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre. The cross thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon. Eostre is probably the origin of the name Easter. According to cookery writer Elizabeth David, Protestant English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion water. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Queen Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.