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Hot Cross Buns

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Hot Cross Buns

"Hot Cross Buns"
Roud #13029
Written England
Published c. 1798
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer Traditional
Language English

"Hot Cross Buns" is an English language nursery rhyme, Easter song and street cry referring to the spiced English bun associated with Good Friday known as a Hot Cross Bun. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 13029.


  • Lyrics 1
  • Origins 2
  • The tune 3
  • Notes 4


The most common modern version is:[1]

Tune for Hot Cross Buns

Problems playing this file? See .

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!


The earliest record of the rhyme is in Christmas Box, published in London in 1798.[1] However, there are earlier references to the rhyme as a street cry in London, for example in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1733, which noted:

Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs
With one or two a penny hot cross buns.[2]

The tune

There is one version. This version features a 3-note descending stepwise sequence; other versions are noted but are not used by standard day practices.


  1. ^ a b I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 197.
  2. ^ Charles Hindley, History of the Cries of London: Ancient and Modern (Cambridge University Press, 2011). p. 218.
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