Holy Cross Day is celebrated with reflection on and the veneration of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for his mankind’s salvation. It is usually celebrated with some form of religious service, prayer, and reflection but it can also be celebrated in other ways. Baked goods in the form of a cross can be made – this includes things such as Hot Cross Buns and cross-shaped cakes. Traditions state that sweet basil grew on the hill where the Holy Cross was found, so some people use basil to create a special dish for Holy Cross Day. This can include basil soups, breads or pesto dishes.
Holy Cross Day has been associated with the dedication of a group of buildings that were built by Emperor Constantine in Jerusalem on the sites of Christ’s crucifixion and his tomb. This dedication occurred on September 14, 335. During the excavation, a relic that was believed to be the cross was discovered by Constantine’s mother, Helena. From the fourth century on, the Church of Jerusalem claimed to have this relic in their possession and had a feast to celebrate its discovery.