The giant billboards, placed by the Hell Pizza company, have been plastered around Auckland, the country’s largest city.
Lloyd Ashton, a spokesman for New Zealand’s Anglican Church, condemned the advertising campaign as disgraceful.
“It’s disrespectful to what a lot of people hold very dear,” he said.
“They’ve dared here to take a clumsy poke at something that numbers of people hold sacred.”
For others “Hot Cross Buns” has always been an annoying little song tooted on an off-key recorder. One a penny, two a penny… hell of a deal.
I think it was last year when I finally connected crossed buns with the traditions of Easter. I don’t know why that never occurred to me before.
As with all traditions, it seems, there are debates as to how this got started. One suggests it was Queen Elizabeth I’s edict that they’d only be served at Christmas or Easter. It also turns out that hanging them in a house was supposed to keep bad luck away and sailors tended to bring them on board ship in the hopes that they’d stop shipwrecks. In another, an English widow promised to bake her son a crossed bun every Good Friday while he was away at sea. He never came home so she continued the tradition of hanging the bun in her bakery and others took up the tradition later. Either way, they’ve become a staple for many people when this time of year rolls around.
Back to New Zealand.
Patrick Dunn, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland, said: “I suppose in some ways they are acknowledging that Jesus was around for a limited time, but a number of people might decide to boycott Hell pizzas for a while and I will be one of them.”
Warren Powell, a director of the company, defended the campaign, saying: “I do not see how it could possibly be disrespectful to anyone’s religion.
Oh, I can. People don’t want to associate Jesus with hell except in terms of a Jesus love affair saving a person from eternal damnation. To offer up a “satanic” bun beside Jesus’ name might qualify as blasphemy.
That said, the pentagram used to be a symbol for the “good” side, but it’s been a while since it was used that way and not everyone’s aware that it ever was. From Religious Tolerance I learn that Kore was a goddess worshiped centuries ago whose holy symbol was the five point star. And:
Kore was worshiped within the Coptic Gnostic Christian religion in Alexandria, Egypt, during the 4th century CE. Her festival, the Koreion, was held yearly on JAN-6. This was adopted by the Christian church as Feast of Epiphany (a.k.a. Twelfth Night). 2 This date is still celebrated as Jesus’ birthday in Armenian churches, and is observed with more pomp than is Christmas by the Greek Orthodox church
In England, the Koreion became the Kirn – the Feast of Ingathering. The Christian church later adopted it to the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy.
When the Hebrew scriptures were new, “the pentacle was the first and most important of the Seven Seals – an amulet whose seals represented the seven secret names of God.” The points of the star were meant to symbolize the Pentateuch, the first five books of the bible. When Christianity was newer, the star often symbolized Christ’s five wounds, the Star of Bethlehem, “the five knightly virtues – generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety” and was also used for protection when worn as an amulet.
The negative connotations came later and remain most popular, sadly, as evidenced by this article. A symbol like this star only means what people feel like letting it mean. As an atheist, I think it’s a stupid thing to get worked up over. They’re only offered for a limited time anyway, why worry about it? Calling any kind of attention to Hell Pizza is going to bring them some business, no matter if devout Catholics choose to boycott them for a while. I’m sure the atheists and Jedis will buy from them…