A wonderful treat! Great for holidays, or a nice Sunday brunch. Enjoy!
A little history:
In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the crucifixion. They are believed by some to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733 it is claimed (no source found) that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon); 'Eostre' is probably the origin of the name 'Easter'. Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier. Cakes were certainly baked in honour of deities since very ancient times, although it is not known if they were marked.
According to cookery writer Elizabeth David, Protestant English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.
In both Australia and New Zealand recently a chocolate version of the bun has become popular. They generally contain the same mixture of spices but chocolate chips are used instead of currants. This is due to the close association between Easter and chocolate, or simply to a love of chocolate in general.
Czech hot cross buns called mazanecIn the Czech Republic, mazanec is a similar cake or sweet bread eaten at Easter time. It often has a cross marked on top.
In the Maldives, cream jehi banas or cream buns in English is a favourite to the locals. It is fairly similar to hot cross buns.