Why A Little English Town Threw Buns For Queen Elizabeth's 90th Birthday

As the world's oldest living monarch, the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's birthday take on a heightened tone. Although Queen Elizabeth has two birthday celebrations, her actual date of birth on April 21 and her official celebration in June, each occasion is met with both reverent and lighthearted ways of marking the occasion. While the BBC reports that Queen Elizabeth II will spend the day at her Sandringham home, the town of Abingdon-on-Thames, located in south-central England, will continue a special tradition that started in 1761.

According to the Abingdon town website, bun throwing is a tradition that goes back over 400 years. Starting with the coronation of King George III, the local mayor took to throwing buns to the townspeople. Although not an annual occurrence, royal events, including the Queen's birthday, can trigger the food-throwing celebration. The most recent event happened in 2018 as a commemoration of the end of WWI. While not necessarily a food fight, Let's Go Britain asserts that this food toss started as a way for the rich to give to the poor. Although some people might say that man cannot live by bread alone, James Beard once said good bread is the most satisfying of all foods. Doesn't a birthday celebration deserve that taste?

What type of buns are thrown for Queen Elizabeth's birthday?

While Queen Elizabeth II's favorite cake might be chocolate, Abingdon will not be throwing slices of chocolate cake off the town hall roof. The centuries-old bun throwing tradition to mark milestones in British history launches a different pastry into the air. According to the BBC, the 2016 bun throwing event featured 4,500 currant buns. Each bun was decorated with a crown design to mark that particular birthday celebration.

With the 2022 event, it is unclear whether currant buns or another flavor will be used. The Oxford Mail captured a previous event where thousands flocked to the town hall at 7 p.m. in hopes of catching one of the special buns. While some people choose to eat the flying buns, Let's Go Britain reports that the County Hall Museum has several previous celebratory buns preserved and on display. This British tradition clearly has a sweet ending for everyone involved.