Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Day of the Pig

At the beginning of 1971, I moved to the Spanish Island of Ibiza in the Mediterranean Ocean. After a few months of living in the ancient town, we found a tiny 2,000 year old Moorish finca (farmhouse) smack-dab in the middle of the island. It was situated in a beautiful orchard valley high enough to look down through the hills to the walled city nestled by the bay. The fig trees dripped their ripeness for the plucking and the aromas of the grandfather almond tree, outside the front door, combined with the pinions, lemon, and olive trees that surrounded us, made this spot the most idyllic place on earth to my New York City consciousness.

Every morning, I would climb the rickety ladder to our flat roof and sit in meditation, greeting the morning sun. One day, as I sat in deep contemplation, I heard a piercing scream from over to my right across the valley. It was followed by other similar screams coming from different parts of the island, until the air itself was filled by this unfathomable shrieking. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced and I was terrified. The din surrounded and enveloped me.

Curious, I went to my nearest neighbor to investigate. It turned out to be the Day of the Pig, a ritual where each family binds a pig the kitchen table and proceeds to attack it with knives. The rest of the day is spent making sausage that will last the entire year. Talk about culture shock! We were invited to participate in the culinary preparations and I did watch for a while. It was quite disgusting to me as every bit of the pig found its way stuffed into a long tube of intestines.

Needless to say, I swore off sausage.

Prema Rose

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