Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pig Killing Day

Yes, you read right. Apparently, it is Hungarian tradition to have a "pig killing day". The slaughter usually takes place in fall-winter, as the cold is required to help preserve the mass quantities of meat. In the past, this tradition was used as a means to obtain food for one's family. Today, this is no longer a necessity, however, it is still practiced throughout European cultures. Zsoka and Niki came to pick me up from the hostel at 6:30 am. We headed to Zsoka's father's house for the pig killing day.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted and immediately walked over to the pig pen. Here, the men attempted to catch the pig using a metal loop/bit thing that is placed in the pig's mouth. One man grabbed it's tail, another used his body weight to help control the animal as the bit is forced into the pig's mouth. I never realized how many teeth pigs have, its crazy...and they're pretty long. Anyways, from there, the men lead the pig out of the pen where they will stun it with the pistol thing. Immediately after the shot, the pig seemed incoherent and fell to the ground. The shot is meant to knock the animal unconscious, and thus minimize the squealing and pain felt by the animal. Unfortunately, my viewing of such activities did not go as planned.
As the men moved to cut it's throat, the pig let out this AWFUL squealing sound. The shot had not worked! Niki and Zsoka walked away from the area, unable to take the pig's cries. I stood, frozen, unable to look away. I stood there, taking in this whole experience. Once the pig's throat was cut, they collected the blood in a bowl, which would be cooked by Zsoka's mother. Mixed with onions and other spices, this is a Hungarian delicacy that is enjoyed with bread.

The rest of the morning, the men prepared the pig: First, they burned off the hair,
next, they washed the pig, removing its outer layer of charred flesh. Then began the butchering. Every part of the pig would be used in some fashion. The non-meat parts, such as the head and feet, would be used in a stew for added flavoring, while the intestines were used as hoses to hold the sausage. The pig's head is removed and the body was cut into two halves. From here the various cuts were made and taken to be cleaned.

Throughout my experience, the men kept posing and laughing as I took photos. Despite the initial shock, as the day progressed I was able to handle the slaughter better--it no longer looked like the lovable pink pig I had loved from the movie "Babe". After almost 5 hours, Niki, Adam (who arrived just in time for the blood meal) and I returned back to Bekescsaba to rest up for the evening's festivities: MMA/K1 fights in our gym!

(NOTE: I have videos if anyone wants to see..they're kinda overwhelming, but just let me know)

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