You sit down to enjoy a slice of ham at Aunt Gertrude’s Easter table, and you notice the seasonal centerpiece is made entirely of butter. Um, what?
No worries: It’s just a butter lamb, aka the Easter tradition you didn’t know about...until now.
It turns out butter lambs have been around for, like, ever. The tradition probably came from Eastern European countries like Poland when Catholic immigrants settled in the U.S. (hence why it’s so popular in states like Illinois, New York and Michigan). But why a lamb? And why butter? We have so many questions!
Here’s why: Lambs are a biblical image, and dairy was a common thing to give up during Lent, so the lamb-shaped butter was born...and has continued to this day. You’ll find the condiment-slash-table-decor in Polish markets and grocery stores leading up to Easter. (You could also attempt making one yourself. You do you.)
Today, the famous dairy sculptures are decked out with a festive necktie (usually red) and have peppercorn eyes. That is, until you start slathering a roll with the darn thing.