Hot Cross Buns
DESCRIPTION: "Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns! If your daughters do not like them, give them to your sons...." Else, "eat them yourselves"
EARLIEST DATE: 1797 (_Christmas Box_, according to Opie-Oxford2)
KEYWORDS: food commerce nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1686, "Hot Cross Buns" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Oxford2 84, "Hot Cross Buns!" (2 texts)
Jack, p. 75, "Hot Cross Buns" (1 text)
Dolby, p. 159, "Hot Cross Buns" (1 texT)
ADDITIONAL: Enid Porter, _The Folklore of East Anglia_, Batsford, 1974, p. 59, "(no title)" (1 text)
Marjorie Rowling, _The Folklore of the Lake District_, Rowman and Littlefield, 1976, p. 112, "(Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns) (1 short text)
NOTES [111 words]: Opie-Oxford2: "This was formerly a street cry, as mentioned, for instance, in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1733." - BS
As the Opies note, this began life as a street cry. But the tradition of hot cross buns at Eastertide has become so strong that it appears the piece has gone into tradition.
There is a pretty good chance the buyers' daughters (as the song says) would not like them -- because (in Sussex at least) they were often kept for the entire year, as a good luck charm, and were said to never grow moldy. Which was probably true, because they were baked very dry and hard; see Jacqueline Simpson, The Folklore of Sussex, B. T. Batsford, 1973, p. 112. - RBW
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