On Wednesday, April 16, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lewiston will distribute homemade hot cross buns. Several churches in the Episcopal Diocese in Western New York distributed ashes to people outside of their churches on Ash Wednesday. St. Paul members said "Hot Cross Buns to Go" is another way for the church to move out of the church building and into the community.
Members of the congregation will make each bun by hand and package them for distribution. Beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday, volunteers and the rector of St. Paul's will give away the hot cross buns on the corner of Center and Portage streets, near the Tuscarora Heroes Monument in Lewiston, while supplies last.
The tradition of hot cross buns goes back to the reign of Elizabeth I of England, when spices and raisins were not allowed to be used in baking, except for Christmas, Easter and for burials. Hot cross buns are usually eaten on Good Friday, or other days close to Easter.
There is much folklore about hot cross buns, including the idea buns baked on Good Friday will not mold, and that sharing a bun with a friend ensures friendship. These seasonal treats have been thought to protect homes and businesses from fire, and to protect the voyages of seafarers.
"Holy Week is the time of year when we remember the suffering, arrest and death of Jesus," said The Rev. Diane Pike, rector of St. Paul's. "Our society has secularized the observance of the most important event in Christendom, the resurrection of Christ. Maybe our hot cross buns will remind people that Easter is more than jellybeans, chocolate bunnies and egg hunts? And who doesn't like a free sweet roll with their coffee?"
Founded in 1835, St. Paul's Episcopal Church is located at 400 Ridge St., between Fourth and Fifth streets. Sunday services are held at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday there will be one service at 10:30 a.m., followed by an Easter brunch. All are welcome.