For many decades Sibian residents gather their families, villages, or communities together for one special gastronomic event: the butchering of the pig. This tradition is embedded in symbolism that fills the hearts, minds, and stomachs of Sibiu residents. Amidst the 18 villages of Marginimea Sibiu and it is said that on the night of St. Ignatius, the pig dreams of his knife from December 20th and the animal stops eating. So where does this tradition originate and where can you partake in it if you’re visiting Sibiu County. 

The History

According to traditions by ethnographers from Sibiu – Saint Ignatius a holy martyr who died in the amphitheatre when he was torn by beasts, is celebrated for his significant sacrifice on December 20th with the slaughtering of the pigs. The celebrations fold over an ancient belief based on animal sacrifice. There is a belief that if the pig’s spleen has a certain shape, it is thickened at one and the winter will be harder. This animal is respected and given alms. 

Bringing the Tradition to You

Every year in December between 10 am to 4:00 pm at the open-air Astra Museum there will be groups of villagers from Orlat, Marginimea Sibiu who using their knowledge, traditional techniques and tools will participate in the slaughtering of the pigs. Food will be prepared and served to all the same way it would be in the villages. 

Along with a serving of pork, in true Romanian fashion, there are also pickles, sour cabbage and cucumbers with a side of polenta. Every year the households in the country side will prepare this dish to provide an abundant meal for the incoming celebration of the Nativity of the Lord.

  It is a practice less common; it isn’t done in the city anymore only in the countryside. Somehow, stress that only in the countryside and rural areas do they still do it (but within the legislation - certain rules)

See ASTRA Museum Schedule here.