The Easter holiday in Jamaica is marked by the enjoyment and delight of Easter Bun and Cheese. With a history that dates back to ancient Babylon’s hot cross buns, the Jamaican version is dear to the childhood memories of many Jamaicans. In Babylonia, cross buns were offered to Ishtar, the pagan queen of heaven. Similar cakes were made by ancient Greeks to honor the Moon. The tradition of baked goods as offerings to deities made its way to England, where cross buns were made and consumed on Good Friday with the cross understood as a symbol of the crucifixion.
When the British captured Jamaica, they brought the cross bun custom to the island. Over time, Jamaica made the original English cross bun its own by using molasses in the mix instead of honey. And in Jamaica, the bun is eaten with cheese, a combination that is now an integral part of the island’s cuisine. In the present day, the custom of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday has waned in Britain, but it is still prevalent in Jamaica, with Bun and Cheese a dish eaten chiefly during the Easter holiday. Bun and Cheese is just one of the foods adapted from other cultures for Jamaican tastes. For example, rice, originally from China and India, has been incorporated with red peas to create the unique Jamaican dish of rice-and-peas. To enjoy some of the true flavor of Jamaica, be sure to sample Bun and Cheese at Easter to understand its popularity among locals.