Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easter Butter Lamb

 Easter Butter Lamb - Baranek Weikanocny

The Easter Lamb bearing a Resurrection Banner - like marshmallow Peeps, the butter lamb is an Easter icon of Polish Tradition.

Isn't he cute?

When I was growing up, I would be the one to make the lamb.  I made it free form, by hand and most of them came out looking like a Sphinx! (sorry, no pics available).  I didn't have the web to look up instructions, and my mom never told me that they have molds specifically for this.  Maybe she did tell me, but I don't recall.  I would sculpt my little lamb, put him in the fridge to get hard, then take a toothpick and make all kinds of swirlies on him to make it look like wool.  I put two peppercorns for eyes, and a sprig of parsely in his mouth. Just the smell of the parsley when I decorated this little guy, brought me right back to my mom's kitchen table.  There are handcarved wooden molds available from Poland that cost over $100.00. 

Swieconka - Blessing of the Easter Food

The blessing of the Easter food is an old lovely tradition that I was raised with.  It is common for most Eastern European Catholics.  On Holy Saturday, we would set the dining room table with all our food to be blessed.  Father Joe - from St. Hedwig's Parish would make a visit to the house to bless our food.  None of the churches do this anymore.

These are the most important part of the Easter table and their meanings:

Baranek - A lamb, representing Christ Resurrected.  A typical Polish Easter symbol.

Pepper and Horseradish - These symbolize the bitter herbs of the Passover and Exodus.

Bread - A symbol of Christ, "The Bread of life".

Salt - "You are the salt of the Earth".

Vinegar - Symbolizes the gall given to Christ at the Crucifixtion.

Wine - Symbolizes the blood of sacrifice spilt by Christ at the Crucifixtion.

In the old days, all types of pork were forbidden until the coming of Christ.

Father Joe won't be coming to bless the food anymore, but he has blessed us with many special Easter memories.
Pysanky - Ukrainian Easter Egg art
I tried this once but it's very involved - but beautiful!

Make your own Easter Butter Lamb

Polish Art Center - Plastic Butter Lamb Mold

How to make Ukrainian Easter Eggs

This lamb has joined the So Sweet Linky Party! 


  1. There is a creative wonderful tradition, many that I have seen have never looked this perfect.. my goodness you are so talented. I have never sculpted butter before, I do have many molds however but this is just darling. I would love to have this one my table... just so elegant! Happy Easter to you and your taught you well!

  2. Patti - I swear you and I must have the same brain sometimes..LOL.
    My husband's Grandma (his family heritage is Polish as well) and she makes an Easter lamb every year. In fact, when we were stationed overseas, she made and mailed one to us! She just sent me her recipe for her Easter Lamb and I wanted to know the tradition behind it. I am so happy you posted this. I am now on a search for a lamb mold! LOL

  3. That's not bad - $9.00 for a mold!

  4. Your lamb is adorable, what a fun idea:@)

  5. Oh my gosh! You have taken me back with this post. I remember when I was little, we'd always eat Easter brunch at my great aunt's house and a priest would come on Holy Saturday to bless the food. It would all be out on her dining room table and I'd gaze at it and always ask if we really *had* to wait until the next day to eat! ;) Such a beautiful tradition and, as you said, sadly no longer practiced.

    And the butter lamb! On my gosh. The last time we found a butter lamb, my mom let him get too soft before we tried to get him out of the package and he lost his face. We were in hysterics, trying to free him without taking off any more of him!

  6. I LOVED reading all of the meanings of each Easter food and the story of your priest blessing the food on Holy Saturday. I wish we had enough priests today to not only be able to bless our Easter foods, but to bless our homes and EVERYTHING. We have a special day when parishioners bring ALL of their animals to the church parking lot to be blessed.

    Your Easter lamb is absolutely incredible and beautiful! You are so talented!!! When does the blog hop end? I have nothing prepared for Easter yet at this time! I'd love to participate too.

  7. Aaawww that is so cute. What a sweet Easter tradition.

  8. Love the Lamb, no pun intended! Really beautiful food associations too.

  9. Thanks for inviting me to join your link party! I hope you'll stop back by and link up your sweet little lamb to my So Sweet Sunday party going on now! :)

  10. Oh, I really just completely LOVE this (can you sense the excitement in my writing!?) I hope you'll be able to link this up to my Not "Baaad" Sundays (just right for your little lamb) blog hop :)

  11. This is a wonderful and beautiful tradition, Patti. Thank you for sharing the links too. I'll have to do one of these for my Easter table.

    I'm glad you are interested in participating in my first Monday, Mmm ... Dessert recipe hop tomorrow. I look forward to your recipe.

  12. Patti this lamb is so cute I love it. I don't have any Easter post yet but when I do I will link up here. I think you need to come over and link this up at my site plus I wrote about the award you gave to me :)

  13. There's a surprise waiting for you on my blog today. Have a happy weekend! :)

  14. hello..coming by to visit your blog..

  15. When I was little my mom always made a Lamb shaped cake, covered in coconut flakes. I wish I knew what became of the Lamb cake mold.

    I'm so excited to learn about the lamb butter mold tradition. I'm off to search for my favorite butter mold... something sturdy that I can pass down through the family.
    Thanks for sharing this at La Bella Vita linky.

  16. I love the Easter Lamb tradition. My family is Italian and we also always make a butter Easter Lamb. My never look that good and sometimes the kids put pepper seed behind it now, but the tradition is still there :)

  17. Hi! I'm here on a hop and am following you. Come follow me too?

  18. Hello There! I found You on Aquarian's Spring Bog hop.
    I never heard of butter lambs before. I was born and raised in Hungary, and I know that many of our traditions are the same ,as a matter of fact, my name Kinga , is also a Polish name. I think we make stuffed cabbages in the same fashion, and kolbasz too perhaps, but butter lambs?? My goodness, I was missing out big time.
    I will certainly follow. If you have a chance, maybe you could take a look at my jewelry related blog, you might like it:
    Thank You,

  19. Hoping you are getting many hits from Pinterest since I have reposted many times! :) Happy Easter 2012 this is still my favorite story and love that little lamb.... blessings to you and yours!

  20. Thank you so much for linking up to our Easter Egg Hop! We gave your post a pin on Pinterest. This lamb is adorable!

    Are you on Pinterest? We would love a pin in return as a favor.

    Thank you!


  21. HI Patti! I'm following you now on Pinterest! I didn't see your button at first. I love your pins and can't wait to see what all you pin! Have great weekend, susie

  22. What wonderful information about Polish History. That lamb looks wonderful! I found your post on Weekend Pot Luck

  23. This is sooooo cute! You are an artist!

  24. I am first generation Polish from Buffalo. The baskets of food were always adorned with beautifully crocheted doilies. We also included dyed Easter eggs and ham and cross buns. Why can't we continue the traditions?


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