To Butter Someone Up is to flatter them with smooth talk.
Some suggest this is linked with the smooth way butter spreads on the bread, to make it more palatable.
We might continue to believe this until we visited the Hindu temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu ( supposedly the largest temple in the world), where guides speak of the ancient custom of throwing butterballs of ghee ( the clarified butter used as the basis of all Indian cooking) at the statues of gods, a method of seeking favour by ‘buttering up the gods’.
We also know that during celebrations for the Tibetan New Year, the lamas at all the monasteries create ‘butter flowers’ or sculptures out of played on th14 and 15th day of the Tibetan lunar year following a religious ceremony the previous evening. The tradition of creating butter sculptures, to worship statues of Buddha, can be traced to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and the belief that such offerings would bring peace and happiness for the full lunar year.
This tradition we known as ‘buttering up the Buddha’.