Ho ho ho it's ... hot cross buns
TINSEL and fairy lights are still decorating many homes across the Northern Rivers as people wind up their Christmas celebrations.
And while some of us are already counting down to our next public holiday - Australia Day on January 26 - there probably aren't too many of us thinking about Easter just yet.
That is, unless you're a major supermarket chain.
It may be the first week of January, but Coles and Woolworths stores in the region are already sneaking hot cross buns onto their shelves.
Good Friday is not until April 6 this year.
"It is ridiculously early," one supermarket shopper told The Northern Star yesterday.
"I mean, what time of the year are we up to? It's January.
"We haven't even had a chance to get over Christmas yet, and they are already pushing Easter on to us."
A Woolworths spokeswoman yesterday told The Northern Star that their hot cross buns went on sale at the same time every year.
"They are extremely popular, our customers love them, and they are one of our highest selling bakery items in the lead up to Easter," she said.
"Woolworths sells approximately 25 million individual hot cross buns in the months leading up to Easter.
"Of that we expect to sell over 1.5 million individual buns in the first week.
"There is also a strong demand for small eggs, even this early in the year."
Coles spokesman Jon Church said they stocked Easter products from January because "customers - especially larger families - tell us that they like the opportunity to spread the cost of Easter over a few months".
But owner of Brumby's bakery in Ballina, Donna Faulkner, said they would not start selling hot cross buns until "a couple of months before Easter".
"We cop too much abuse if we start baking them at this time of year," she said.
"In saying that, if we put them out, they do sell."
HOT CROSS BUN SUPERSTITIONS
Although hot cross buns are traditionally a symbol of the crucifixion, there are many superstitions:
- Buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or become mouldy.
- Give a piece of bun to an ill person and they will recover.
- Share a hot cross bun with another person and they will become your friend.
- If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck.
- If hung in the kitchen, they will protect against fires.