Is a butter lamb part of your Easter tradition?
Have you ever seen an Easter butter lamb? I hadn’t until a few years ago, and since then, I have been totally charmed by this European Easter tradition.
When I was growing up, we had our own Easter traditions which included dyeing eggs, chocolate lambs and bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and candy filled plastic eggs tucked into our shoes for us to find on Easter morning.
Easter weekend always included a visit to the local farmers co-op to see the baby chicks and rabbits, and if we were lucky, there would be baby lambs as well.
My mother made sure that our table was filled with the traditional Easter food, and there was always a lamb shaped cake for dessert.
I just know that if my mother had known about butter lambs, one would have graced our table every year, as well!
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.
Baranek Wielkanocny (the Polish name for this sculpture) has distinctive details of religious symbolism for the holiday.
- The Lamb itself represents Jesus (often referred to as Lamb of God).
- A red ribbon around the lamb’s neck represents the Blood of Christ.
- A red and white flag is often used to decorate the lamb with the words “Alleluia” (a nod to Jesus’ resurrection).
- Peppercorns are used for the eyes (to signify God’s lighting of the world).
In the old tradition, many Eastern European families would mold their lamb out of butter and take it to church on Holy Saturday to be blessed during The Blessing of the Easter baskets called Swieconka.
The baskets would contain a sampling of Easter foods, and the basket would be traditionally lined with white linen and decorated with sprigs of boxwood, the typical Easter evergreen.
Today, many people create their own butter lamb sculptures using a lamb shaped mold.
You can also buy butter lambs at some specialty food markets and grocery stores during Easter, or order online from Buffalo Foods and have it shipped to you!
Don’t you want a butter lamb on your Easter table?
I don’t blame you, they are so cute!
If you can’t find a butter lamb in your area, try making your own!
Your family can make sculpting your own butter lamb an Easter tradition!
I can’t wait to put a butter lamb on our Easter table this year!
We would love to hear from you!