The pictures might be too tough for some of you!
The slaughtering of the pig, known in Romania as Ignat, is an ancient religious celebration in which the animal is scarified. In fact, it is believed that the slaughtering day coincides with the one of the ancient solar god who dies only to resurrect few days later, hence the reason for sacrifice.
This religious sacrifice is celebrated each year, generally on December 20th, by many inhabitants of the country side. It is an important day for the whole family who prepares everything for the sacrifice early in the morning. According to the tradition, the pigs have dreams about knifes the night before the butchering.
A very peculiar event happened in the winter of 2011 when a Romanian tried to slaughter his pig and he ended up with his own throat cut by the pig! Unfortunately, he died almost instantly. It seems that while he was fighting with the pig, he lost his balance and fell down. In that moment the pig practically cut his throat with one of its trotters.Several adults tie the pig with ropes and after that it is dragged to the place where is going to be killed. This is done with a long and sharp knife, the throat is stabbed and the blood vessels cut. This is the cruelest part of the process taking in consideration the pig’s struggle, noise, the fight for its life and the large quantity of blood. For Romanians and other nations of Eastern Europe there is an important distinction between an ordinary killing of an animal and this sacrifice. That’s why the owners of the pig follow a series of rituals. They are not allowed to work in that day or with the pig’s blood they draw a cross on the forehead of the kids. After that the pig is covered by a pile of straws or hays which are set on fire in order to burn its hair. Then it is washed with hot water and it is cut off in different parts. It is the time when parts of the pig’s skin is flayed and given to the kids to eat it with salt.
It is a lot of work in this day, pretty much each piece of the pig being used as food. Everything ends with a good portion of fried pork and some strong alcohol.
Due to the animal rights activists, the authorities try to implement a more human method of killing the animal by using a captive bolt pistol. Even so, the traditional method prevails by far.
If you want to see this event you should be in Romania somewhere between the beginning of December and December 20th.
by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide