British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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150                                           GOOD FRIDAY.                       [MARCH 20.
doses of Good Friday bread without any benefit.—Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 155 ; see N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. iii. pp. 262, 263 ; see also p. 157.
In London, and all over England (not, however, in Scotland), the morning of Good Friday is ushered in with a universal cry of Hot cross buns ! A parcel of them appears on every breakfast-table. It is rather a small bun, more than usually spiced, and having its brown sugary surface marked with a cross. The ear of every person who has ever dwelt in England is familar with the cry of the street bun-vendors :
" One a penny, buns, Two a penny, buns, One a penny, two a penny, H«»t Cross buns!" Book of Bays, vol. i. p. 418.
The following lines are taken from Poor Robin's Almanac for 1733 :
" Good Friday comes this month, the old woman run* With one or two a penny hot cross buns, Whose virtue is, if you believe what's said. They'll not grow mouldy like the common bread."
It seems more than probable that the cross upon the Good Friday bun is intended to remind the devout of a Saviour's sufferings. The following extract in illustration of the ancient name and use of the bun is from Bryant's Analysis of Ancient Mythology, 1807, vol. i. pp. 371-373: "The offerings which people in ancient times used to present to the gods were generally purchased at the entrance of the Temple, especially every species of consecrated bread, which was denominated accordingly. One species of sacred bread which used to be offered to the gods was of great antiquity, and called Bonn. Hesychius speaks of the Boun, and de­scribes it as a " kind of cake with a representation of two horns., " Julius Pollux mentions it after the same manner, "asort of cake with horns." It must be observed, however, as Dr. Jamieson remarks, that the term occurs in Hesychius in the form of fiov$, and that for the support of the etymon Bryant finds it necessary to state that " the Greeks, who changed the nu final into a sigma, expressed it in the
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