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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Jamaican Easter Tradition - Easter Bun and Cheese

At this time of the year many around the world and in the Caribbean celebrate Easter. For many of Christian beliefs, Easter is the time of the year that they commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.

Cultures around the world vary greatly, and the celebration of Easter is no different. Jamaica is a nation that is predominantly of Christian belief. Some professed Christians begin the Easter season with Lent, where they go into a period of fasting while others deny themselves of certain pleasures of the flesh. Many Jamaicans ensure that they are present at church on Easter Sunday to offer thanksgiving for the sacrifice Christ made for mankind, while for some it spans Good Friday to Easter Monday. While for those who do not celebrate Easter, welcome the public holiday and a break from work to visit family and friends and to party. Since the 90s this time of the year is the climax of the Carnival celebrations, marked by several Blow-Out fetes, Jouvert and the Road March.

However, this time of year is most famous in Jamaica, especially to the children, for the long time tradition of Easter Bun and Cheese! At this time of the year local bakeries are kept busy supplying a nation craving for the sweet, spicy, raisin filled bun with the locally famous Tastee Cheese. The Easter bun is basically a modified version of the Jamaican spice bun, that is available all year. The Easter bun is noticeably sweeter than the ordinary spice bun and loaded with raisins. Also it is a bit more moist than the ordinary spice bun as well as somewhat bigger than the spice book. Whereas, the ordinary bun is packaged in plastic, the Easter Bun will not settle for that, it is not only wrapped in plastic, but it is also packaged in decorative boxes which uniquely identify it. Easter Buns differ slightly in taste and texture due to the recipes used by the various local bakeries. The most popular Easter buns include HTB, Yummy and Maxfield Easter Buns. On the other hand, many Jamaicans prefer to employ their own family recipes and bake their own Easter Buns. The Easter bun would not be complete with a slice or two of cheese and the cheese of choice is Tastee Cheese. Yes, there will be Easter Bun and cheese in the hands and bellies of Jamaicans for the next few weeks.

That's just a brief description of how Easter is celebrated here in Jamaica. How is Easter celebrated in your Country?

19 commented:

In the xtian part of Nigeria it aint much different. Lent and fasting (food and flesh) and endless prayer things. Fish on Good friday. Big feasting on Easter day.

I like that idea of Easter bun and cheese. all year round. never heard of it b4 (and my woman's jamaican!).

whats that significance of the bun?

I can't wait until I spot the first HTB bun. I will be gobbling that up in a quick minute!

Obi, the significance is that you are not to be eating meat, etc during the solem time on Good Friday, so they give you Easter bun and cheese instead.

Enjoy your bun. When they get here the prices are way up there, but actually I have one already. My son is murdering it.

We dress up to the nines for a long church service and then get together with the family for dinner. Children dye hard-boiled eggs. Then they are used for a easter egg hunt and the child who finds the most eggs gets a prize. When I was younger, my parents made me a Easter basket filled with candy and toys to be received Easter morning. This Easter I'll be working ;( Oh to be young again!

I'll be consuming less bun and cheese this year.....need to lose some weight.

Well,pretty much the sane as in JA.We make cross buns for Good Friday and most people don't cook meat that day opting for mackerel,saltfish or some other fish.Then there is the tradition of setting an egg before sunrise-using the whites only on Good Friday and the shape it takes by day end is supposedly an indication of your fortune.

No Easter bun & cheese in Barbados, but some good kite flying. Eating only fish on Fridays during Lent and a good piece of roast lamb on Easter Sunday. Reminds me, I gotta go down tuh de market to get my lamb for Easter.

Here, folks fly kites on Easter Monday to represent Jesus going up to heaven. Christians go to church. Other than that, it's a quiet day.

I need that bun and that cheese. Now.

Kinda looks like a holiday 'fruit cake' with cheese.

that reminds me i need to go and get some bun and cheese this weekend. i love to toast my bun and butter it and put the cheese on top. i need to find a ja stop that has some good ja cheese. i don't have anyone comin up to bring some for me.

Right from the pics, I had to chuckle, me and my Jamaican home girl eat this everyday... i kill it everytime I go to her house..
So much for tradition.

why after reading this post, easter in my country sounds boring? :D

oh well...

yo! stun found this blog called yardflex

might already know it :)

have a good weekend

Easter - the only time of year girls want bun. LOL.

HEHE just memba a joke bout CURRENT INA BUN

me love bun and cheese,but so expensive these days, ya noe. Me love it so much me eat it when apart from easter!

I googled the history of the Easter Bun & Cheese, it goes as follows:

The Story of the Jamaica Easter Tradition From The Hot Cross Buns

Published Apr 1, 2007

Yum, let’s all have a hot cross bun. Jamaicans probably remember the universal ditty associated with the delicious treats—
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.

Sung quite a bit at Easter time, the song reminds many of childhood delights, but most people probably don’t realize that hot cross buns pre-date the Jamaican bun and cheese and led to their popularity. Sometimes called Easter buns, they are a big part of Jamaican culture, just like several other representative foods such as saltfish or ackee. The concept dates back to ancient Babylon, when cross buns were offered to Ishtar, the pagan queen of heaven. Ancient Greeks made similar cakes to honor the moon.

The tradition found its way to England, where cross buns were eaten on Good Friday, with the cross symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus. When the British captured Jamaica, of course they brought the custom to the island. Over time though the English version of the cross bun transitioned to the Jamaican version, with some key differences.

Jamaica’s version is made with molasses, while the buns from England were made with honey. In Jamaica, you eat the bun with cheese, a combination that has become ingrained in island culture. British custom has waned when it comes to eating hot cross buns as fasting food on Good Friday, but in Jamaica the practice is as prevalent as ever. Today the custom is seen as more Jamaican than British. And eating cheese is now a year-round practice, while the bun and cheese dish is prevalent primarily during the Easter holiday.

The country has a history of adapting foods from other cultures to please Jamaican palates. Rice, originally from China and India, has been mixed with red peas to make a unique Jamaican dish. While a similar dish is prepared in Trinidad, the two are different, and while Jamaicans call it rice and peas, Trinidadians name it peas and rice. You say tomato, I say tomahto. Either way, make sure to sample a hot cross bun at Easter time to see why they are so very popular.

Spent 2 years in the Cayman Islands ('05-'07) and was introduced to this manna from Jamaican cuisine heaven.

Am back home in Canada now and as Easter approaches, am Jonesing Bun & Cheese! Am going out to buy a small block of cheddar (not quite the same as Tastee brand) and the ingredients to bake my own bun.

Thanks for posting this and the recipe!