Hot cross buns tend to be an all time favourite with everyone during Easter. Spiced buns have been eaten since spices have been around, but the custom of eating spiced buns in England on a Good Friday was established during Tudor times thanks to a by-law forbidding the sale of such buns, except on Good Friday, Yule time and burials.
Bakers were only able to sell these spiced buns during limited times of the year, now – it is sort of ironic that hot cross buns are available for sale the minute Christmas paraphenelia comes down. Not to mention that supermarket versions tend to have an interesting list of ingredients too.
The hot in “Hot Cross Buns” probably evolved from the buns usually being sold hot then. The cross on hot cross buns is arguably partly symbolic but as any baker knows it also has a practical purpose, as another reason for slashing the buns with a cross is to allow gases to escape in an orderly fashion and stop the bun from ripping and tearing in an unsightly way.
Do you have the same problem as me at home, the kids do not want the fruit in the buns and the adults do! I end up making 2 separate batches to keep everyone happy 🙂