Saturday, April 9, 2011

History of Hot Cross Buns and How to Make Easter Gift Tags

Along with Christmas and Birthdays, Easter is a wonderful time of family togetherness and celebration. Even though Easter is a traditional religious occasion, it is also a celebration with strong commercial and cultural meanings for us here in Australia. Did you know that the Easter holiday existed in pagan times, and celebrated renewal and re-birth? In more recent times, Easter is when Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

I know Easter is approaching when hot cross buns make an appearance in the shops. Our family loves hot cross buns and wish they were available all year round! But hot cross buns have a deeply religious meaning too. The round shape represents the shape of the rock that was removed from the front of Christ’s tomb, the spices represent the frankincense and myrrh, and the cross of course represents the crucifixion. They are also supposed to not contain any eggs or dairy products so people celebrating Lent are able to eat them. I think it’s a good idea to discuss this with our kids when they are old enough to understand, even if you don’t celebrate the religious side of Easter its wonderful if our children have an understanding of this side of Easter as well as the fun side of chocolate and bunnies.

I’m sure that you and your family, like us, have developed your own Easter traditions. As with most others, we enjoy a fish dinner on Good Friday. I stock up on hot cross buns to last the long weekend. We support Australian culture by giving our children Bilby’s instead of Bunnies. And because our children are still young, we have heaps of fun doing an egg hunt. If you are in Sydney you might attend the Royal Easter Show each year!

Looking for some low cost things to do with your children in the lead up to Easter?  Here are some ideas:

• There are lots of free printable colouring sheets available online, find some your child will like and print them out. You can even make an Easter colouring book of your own by stapling the sheets together
• Do some fun crafts such as making Easter hats or paper baskets ready for the Easter weekend.  You might like to check out my post Making Easter Hats on a Budget.
• Plan your Easter Egg hunt
• Research and talk about the real meaning of Easter
• Lend some Easter books from the library
• Bake some bunny shaped biscuits or hot cross buns

Making Easter Gift Tags

We are going to be making and decorating some Easter gift tags, which is super easy.  These add a beautiful personal handmade touch to your Easter gifts or baskets.  Draw and cut some egg shaped ovals out of heavy paper or cardboard (I like them about 3 inches high), punch a hole in the top, give them to the kids to decorate on one side, either by drawing or using glitter etc.  Finally thread some ribbon through the hole!  They are now all ready to use for your Easter gifts.

So, whether you are a Christian family or not, the Easter long weekend is a perfect time for us all to enjoy and celebrate each other’s company and perhaps start one of your own special family traditions.


Deb Chitwood said...

Great post! I've never had hot cross buns, so it was especially interesting for me to learn the symbolism behind them. It's so much fun to find out the differences between Australian and American Easter traditions! Deb @

CatWay said...

I love hot cross buns - although my kids are really not that keen.
I think it is important to share the Christian meaning of Easter, as in Australia we live in a predominantly Christian culture.
I also believe it is important to share that others do not believe the same thing.