Hot Cross Buns

Learn to play easy piano versions of Hot Cross Buns. A Traditional Nursery Rhyme from England.

Hot Cross Buns (HOT R1)
  • Easy
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Program Notes

Hot Cross Buns is a children’s nursery rhyme that originates from London. The earliest references to the rhyme dates back to the mid-18th century. A street cry in Poor Robin’s Almanack from 1733 is recorded as:

Good Friday come this month, the old women runs

With one or two a penny hot cross buns

This is a clear reference to the children’s nursery rhyme that we are familiar with today:

Hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons

One a penny,

Two a penny,

Hot Cross Buns!

The text refers to the traditional English sweet bun that is spiced with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top. Sometimes the cross is a sweet frosting, and other times the uncooked bun is scored with a knife before baking to make the cross. The Hot Cross Bun is traditionally baked during Easter and English folklore includes a number of superstitions surrounding the holiday treat. Some superstitions hold that if the buns are baked and served on Good Friday then they will not go bad for an entire year. The buns are also thought to have medicinal properties. Some believe that Hot Cross buns taken on a boat may protect against shipwrecks. Hanging a bun in the kitchen can protect from fires and improve the quality of other breads baked in the kitchen where the bun hangs. Today, hot cross buns are served in year round in supermarkets across the country. Some popular varieties include chocolate, toffee, orange-cranberry, apple-cinnamon and frosted.

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