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The story behind those iconic Butter Lambs

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They are so cute, and they’ve become a tradition for many of us over the Easter holiday. They are an adorable centerpiece for Easter dinner, but have such deep meaning.
Have you ever wondered just what goes into making a butter lamb? Me too. So, a few years ago, I asked Adam Cichocki, part owner of Malzcewski’s Butter Lambs to give us some details, and although the actual manufacturing process is top secret, Adam did give us some scoop!
It takes the folks at Malzcewski’s several weeks leading up to Easter to make all the butter lambs for all of the stores that carry them. They make – get this – around 100-thousand lambs that are distributed all across the east coast and great lakes region, but mainly in the Western New York area. We’ll never get our eyes on the molds used, but we can tell you that each and every lamb is made and decorated by hand. Right down to the peppercorn eyes.
The lambs have come to be a valued tradition, “The butter lamb is a religious symbol for the lamb of God in the Eucharist,” Adam tells me, “The idea of the butter lamb originated hundreds of years ago in Poland and the tradition was brought over to America. As people from Poland mainly settled in the north east, cities like Buffalo saw this tradition continue over time.”
The Malczewski Butter Lamb was started in Buffalo, decades ago by Dorothy Malczewski in the Broadway Market, “I think people like the idea of having a butter lamb on their Easter table because it is fun, especially for kids, but there is also a deeper meaning that people enjoy as well. Grandparents and parents love to tell their children and grandchildren what the butter lamb means and pass the tradition of having one on the table to the younger generations.” The Butter Lamb symbolizes the sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the Eucharist. The Lamb comes in many shapes and sizes, with a red “alleluia” flag signifying peace on earth, and a red ribbon representing the Blood of Christ. Others have lavender – which was Dorothy’s favorite color.
All these years later, Adam and the rest of the folks at Malczewski’s appreciate how their little lamb is still such a special part of our Easter celebrations,
“It is an honor to be able to make the Malzcewski butter lamb for people to enjoy every Easter. It is great knowing that each lamb is going to end up on someone’s table and that will mean something to them. Dorothy Malczewski, the original owner, starting making these lambs for friends and family until the tradition in Buffalo and surrounding areas grew exponentially over time. It is great to be able to honor what she started and continue to keep this tradition going for decades to come.”
You can find this iconic Buffalo tradition at The Broadway Market AND at our Totally Sweet Buffalo Easter Marketplace at Banchetti’s on April 9th and 10th. You can find more information here.
You can also get them at the Outdoor Easter Artisan Market at the Totally Buffalo Stores at 3328 Sheridan Drive, Amherst and 4154 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg on April 15th and 16th. You can find more information here. 
Mary Friona

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Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

Comments (3)

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    Elaine Ponichtera


    Great story! Thanks! We’ve had a butter lamb on our table for over 50 years!

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    Your work is so very much appreciated! Thank you for being part of my family’s Easter celebration for years!

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    Marcia Jakubczak


    These lambs have been on our table for 60 plus years!

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