Dawn. The countryside. An adorable pig blinks away sleep, wondering why on earth he’s been woken up so early, and what so many people are doing near his pen. Goodness gracious, thinks the animal. Perhaps I’ve been doing something right after all. They’re here to play with me! It’s my lucky day!
In the kitchen, a clock strikes six and a last shot of pálinka is downed. From across the garden, a burly, moustachioed man strides towards the enclosure.
Hello, thinks the pig. That’s the chap who feeds me every day. It’s about time they gave me a bit of tucker! Chocolate drops, hopefully.
Although the animal has no idea, this macabre routine is well-rehearsed. The crowd looms over him... his legs are grabbed roughly, and the pig starts to get cross. Now, come on, he thinks. There's no need for all this. Let's play nicely for a bit, then we all can eat the chocolate drops together. Oi! Ow!
‘…kill the pig, cut his throat, bash him in, kill the pig! cut his throat! bash him in! KILL THE PIG…!’ As the chanting reaches a peak, the knife plunges down, slicing him from ear to ear. A river of blood fills the garden.
It's not the right season, but I'm going to my first pig killing this weekend and I'm apprehensive, to say the least. This is the itinerary, which was sent to me via email.
Regular schedule: awakening (at 5 o'clock), pálinka, killing the pig, pálinka, breaming the pig, pálinka, breakfast (fried?/baked? blood with onion), stripping the pig, pálinka, lunch (lots of meat), pálinka, making black pudding, liverwurst, sausage etc., pálinka and wine.
Other than that, I've no idea what to expect. Comely maidens smothered in gore, carrying buckets of blood back and forth. The village joker dancing about with a pig's head on. Me, sitting at the kitchen table at 7am, pissed out of my mind, next to the pig's still-beating heart. Whatever happens, I hope I won't be returning from this journey into hell (Bakony), scarred and changed forever, like DeNiro in The Deer Hunter.
Time will tell. Anyway, there'll be a report put up about all of this nonsense sometime next week...