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Avoiding the slaughter

Normally, if there is any sort of event going on we're there. Yesterday though it was the Feria de Botijeros. To be honest I'm not quite sure what a Botijero is but from a bit of dictionary surfing it seems to be the people who made and sold the earthenware jugs that were once used to store and cool water.

With a bit of reading between the lines I suspect that Botijeros represent a folk tradition, a cipher for the history of the area; basically the focus of the day was on local crafts and traditions. Fair enough. Unfortunately though the main event wasn't going to be somebody wearing a funny hat, a traditional dress or playing tiddly pom folk music (though they were all there), no the main event was going to be the slaughter of a pig. The traditional "matanza." 

They were going to slaughter the pig and make all those traditional sausages and what not that they make from a pig. Now I am happy to eat bits of pig and I'm not even particularly squeamish about killing them. I can reconcile the idea that bacon doesn't start life in those vacuum packs and my imagination can see a link between a local delicacy that translates as "double chin" and a little cuddly piggy. I didn't really like the idea of being spattered with blood though. So we didn't go. But from checking out the local website it looks as though the pig slaughtering went to plan and that the actual death of the beast took place away from the public gaze. The cutting up of the carcass though was a public spectacle.

Bits from the website story include:

"Maximum attendance was at around 1.30pm when tit bits of pork products, fat seasoned potatos and blood were handed out - a typical lunch for the area."

The local councillor in charge of celebrations said, "We wanted to show how the slaughter of a pig is carried out, particularly for the very young. The key focus of the day is the slaughter but every year we get more and more stalls with traditional crafts, this year there are 21 stalls selling blankets, cheese, cakes, local liquor, some of the women are making lace, and there are examples of wood, leather and clay work" 

My mum, and her little chums, used to sit on a wall in Yorkshire in the 1930s and watch pigs get slaughtered.


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