We get a four day weekend in Australia because of the Christian celebration of Good Friday when Jesus was crucified and Easter Sunday when he rose from the dead. The majority of Australia is Christian and many of those will be going to church to celebrate. Not all Australians will know, however, that the festival at Easter comes from the festivities in honour of Eostre the Scandinavian goddess of dawn. Her name derived from the word for 'east' which was the direction from which the sun arrived in the morning and her special festival was the spring equinox which was the beginning of the sun's reign in the northern hemisphere year. Pagan tradition had it that a human victim, the Tear King, was sacrificed as winter turned into spring. He was buried in the fields and would come to life once again with the grain that was sown and grew to make bread. By eating the bread everyone was sharing in the Year King's rebirth. Christianity combined their own celebrations with something familiar and that is why they chose the Easter celebrations on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. In Australia part of Easter celebrations are the hot cross buns which are sold at every baker.although the cross on top of the buns represents Christ's cross it is again the pagans we must thank for the buns where the cross represented the four quarters of the moon. It is believed that in 1361 a monk called Thomas Rockcliffe began giving the buns to the poor of St Albans on Good Friday. The tradition persisted and the sweet spiced hot cross buns are a firm favourite at Easter.
So where should you go for the best hot cross buns. If you are in Brisbane you might try Bannetons in Ashgrove or Wooloongabba see www.banneton.com.au. Alternatively you might try Hawthorne Garage in Hawthorne www.hawthornegarage.com.au. If you are in Perth then try Lawley's Bakery in Mt Lawley www.lawleys.com.au
or Chez Jean-Claude Patisserie in Subiaco www.chezjeanclaudepatisserie.com.au. People in Adelaide might want to check out Glenelg's Orange Spot Bakery or Darwin residents might try Out back Bakery in Fannie Bay. In Hobart, Jackman and McRoss are worth trying and in Canberra Ngunnawal Bakery.
In Melbourne it is worth a trip to Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Road, Spotswood candiedbakery.com.au or Phillippa's, 1030 High Street, Armadale (and other stores)
www.phillippas.com.au. In Hawthorn, Melbourne you will enjoy the offerings from La Tropezienne, 780 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn www.latropezienne.com.au and for a trip outside Melbourne then La Madre, 18 Milton Street, Geelong www.lamadre.com.au.
Finally Sydney. Get your hot cross buns from Bourke Street Bakery, 472 Gardeners Road, Alexandria (and Marrickville, Potts Point and Surry Hills. www.bourkestreetbakery.com.au or Rise Bakery, 257a King Street, Newtown or Adriano Zumbo Patisserie, 296 Darling Street, Balmain (and Pyrmont and Manly) www.adrianozumbo.com. If you want to travel further afield then try Hominy, 185 Katoomba Street, Katoomba for some deliciously wicked hot cross buns!