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Slaying The Pig

Mallorca’s Moroccan population is busy preparing for Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice, November 29th) when corderos will be slaughtered in Felanitx and elsewhere on the island. I think I might be invited by one of our neighbours.

Mallorcan families celebrate matanzas during this time of year, when pigs are sacrificed albeit not for religious reasons. An age old farming tradition is upheld here in the countryside. November/December is the time of the year when pigs are slaughtered to provide food for most of the year: sobrassadas, butifarrons, lomo and embutidos. Of course, pigs are a no-no for Muslims, but cerdos provided staple food for many of our Mallorcan neighbours during centuries, or so I believe. Matanzas are a laborious yet joyous event and a great Mallorcan tradition.

I have recently heard that having a matanza at home involving the killing of a pig does not conform to rules and regulations any longer and is deemed alegal. I cannot believe that to be true. Dozens of families that I know in our area had their matanzas already, over the last few weeks, or have them planned for the next few weeks. Perhaps it is a matter of authorities turning a blind eye as everybody senses that this is a tradition that may not live for much longer due to the changes that affect rural Spain and contemporary Mallorca. We’ll see.

A splendid book has just been published that celebrates the matanza del cerdo in Mallorca, called Porcs – Mirades tallades. Gori Vicens (Palma, 1968) is the artist behind the powerful photographs in this large format book, whilst artist Albert Pinya (Palma, 1985) offers some bucolic illustrations. The impressive visuals are accompanied by a passionate and vibrant text from the pen of Andreu Manresa (Felanitx, 1955), an El País journalist and a food lover. He lives just round the corner from our house here in Felanitx.

The book is published by Institut d’Estudis Baleàrics and retails at 45 €; it would make for a perfect gift for Christmas or for any other occasion if you want to show that you care for Mallorca and its traditions.

The top two photos were taken by Cati B. near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 21st, 2009. The time was 08:36:47 and 11:12:03, respectively. The bottom two photos were taken from the Internet, courtesy of dbalears.cat. Copyright for these two photos is held by Gori Vicens and the Institut d’Estudis Baleàrics.

Moltes gràcies.

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