HOT cross buns were once an Easter specialty, but their popularity has led supermarkets to turn the religious symbol into a year-round commodity.
Hot cross buns hit the supermarket shelves on Boxing Day - some 12 weeks before Easter.
The buns bear a cross, symbolising the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and were originally a Good Friday delicacy.
But rather than releasing the buns early this year, Woolworths has the first batch of hot cross buns for sale on Boxing Day each year.
Selling the buns so soon after Christmas proved to be a sore point for some on QT Facebook page, while others said the popular items should be sold year round.
Even Woolworth's customers were divided in their views.
Rod Chapman of Eastern Heights said hot cross buns were too good to eat only on Good Friday.
"To me hot cross buns are bloody good and should be sold all year round," he said.
But Samantha Waters of Raceview said it was too soon after Christmas for supermarkets to began their Easter push.
"It's an Easter treat! Really, it's ridiculous. We've just finished Christmas and they are starting to sell them," she said.
A Woolworths spokesman said they were extremely popular.
"Our customers love them, and they are one of our highest selling bakery items in the lead-up to Easter," the spokesman said.
We've improved the recipes for our hot cross buns this year, with new exciting varieties including traditional, fruitless, mini fruit or mini choc chip.
"We've improved the recipes for our hot cross buns this year, with new exciting varieties including traditional, fruitless, mini fruit or mini choc chip."
Woolworths sells about 54 million individual hot cross buns in the months leading up to Easter, and expects to sell more than 7.2 million in the first week.
What's in a hot cross bun
- Traditionally hot cross bun ingredients include mixed spices, cinnamon, fruit mix of currants and raisins.
- The term hot cross bun was first recorded in 1733.
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