A DIY butter lamb on your Easter table will be such an adorable addition!
A few years ago I was introduced to a charming tradition of having a butter lamb on the Easter table, and I’ve been enamored with the idea since then. Butter lambs can be purchased from some grocery stores, mostly in the Midwest, however I decided to try making my own this year, and hopefully, it will inspire you to start a new tradition of adding a butter lamb to your Easter table!
An Easter butter lamb is simply butter molded into the shape of a lamb. Introduced to the United States by Eastern European Catholic immigrants, the tradition can be traced back to Poland (as well as Slovenia and Russia).
The butter lamb was very easy to make using a lamb candy mold that I found on Amazon.
I filled both halves of the lamb mold, using a wide blade knife, pushing and smoothing to get the cavity filled. I used 1 1/2 sticks of butter for each side of the mold.
Tip: Before filling the mold, let your butter sit out to room temperature so that it’s soft and pliable.
Once both sides of the mold is filled, use a flat edge to smooth the butter, then place the mold in the refrigerator to chill.
I chilled the butter in the refrigerator for several hours to make sure that it was nice and solid.
Removing the butter from the mold wasn’t as easy as I was expecting, but with strong pushing on the mold, the lamb finally came free, and I joined both sides together.
Tip: Use your finger to smooth the joint between the two halves to create one solid piece.
The final step was creating the “wooly coat” on the lamb. I used a cheese grater and a stick of very cold butter, simply grating the butter and then gently placing it on the lamb wherever it would have it’s wooly coat.
The traditional butter lamb has distinctive details of religious meaning for the holiday.
The lamb itself represents Jesus (referred to as the Lamb of God). The red ribbon around the neck represents his death. There is an accompanying little banner that says “Alleluia” (a nod to Jesus’ resurrection). In the case of my little butter lamb, I just painted a gold cross on the flag.
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In the old traditions, families would mold their own lamb out of butter and take it to church on Holy Saturday to be blessed at Swieconka (“the blessing of the Easter baskets”).
The butter lamb would be carried in a basket along with rye bread, ham, colored eggs, kielbasa, chocolate and other food items to be eaten during the Easter feast.
Butter lambs are very popular and readily available to purchase in grocery stores, usually found in the Midwest. Unfortunately, they aren’t commonly found in my area, but perhaps they are in yours. If not available in your local grocery store, making one yourself is the next best thing!
In many families, Easter means a special visitor at the dinner table…..no, not the Easter bunny, but a butter lamb! My DIY butter lamb is imperfect, but I still think he’s the perfect new tradition for our Easter table!
The lamb mold also comes in a miniature size, so if you’re feeling really ambitious, you could make a tiny butter lamb for each place setting!
To learn more about the history of this Easter tradition, see our previous post on Butter Lambs.
I hope I’ve inspired you to create your own butter lamb for your Easter table!
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