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Hirosfaghia: A traditional pig slaughter ritual in Greece, celebrated with feasts, music, and dancing, lasting 2-3 days in the village.


The custom comes from the distant past, but takes place throughout Greece, as well as in the Balkans, Italy, and generally wherever pigs are domesticated.

Every year, the families of the village bought a piglet. They fed it all year round to fatten it and kept it in a fenced area until the days of “hirosfaghia” when it was slaughtered. One pig (150-200 kg) was enough to meet the family’s annual meat needs. Hirosfaghia is held in the villages in November or December. The slaughter of the animal took the form of a ritual and was a cause for great celebration. Every year the family bought and fed the piglet, and when the time came for the slaughter, they called on the fellow villagers to help. The men slaughtered the animal and then prepared the meat amid raki, meze and wishes.

Two pigs on window of pig house with their front paws and watching at the camera before the Greek ‘Hirosfaghia’ custom

Upon completion of the process, the party began. The housewives were preparing the festive table, which necessarily included liver in tomato sauce with pilafi and soup. Guests were friends and relatives who helped. It was the moment when the landlord opened his new wine barrel of the past harvest, the musicians arrived and the dance started at one of the biggest celebrations of the year.

The “hirosfaghia” would last 2-3 days.

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