The pig slaughter is a deeply-rooted tradition which has been practiced in Ibiza for centuries. Originally, its main objective was to provide a year-round supply of food for the family. It is celebrated as a great festival in which neighbours and extended family come together to share in the work but also to enjoy the food, drink, songs, stories, dances, games and jokes. As the island’s farmsteads were few and far between, these special events happened only once in a while. There were typically two pig slaughters in a year, the first between All Saints Day and Santa Catalina (25th November) – usually a porcella or piglet – and the second in February or March. Once the pig had grown to the desired weight, some 20 roves or 200 kg, preparations were set in motion to organize the most joyful feast for every farming family. And no wonder: from an animal of this size, a family could obtain some 72 kilos of sobrassada, 24 kilos of botifarra, 32 kilos of lard and 22 kilos of bones and other products.

The fiesta would begin at dawn. Sweet fritters and a long-spouted wine vessel would have already been prepared the day before so that, as soon as the sun rose, the host farm was ready to receive its guests. Work started right away and, by mid-morning, energies needed to be replenished with bread and sausage, gerret (pickerel) in brine, cocas (open-faced pies of roasted peppers), etc. Sometimes, a meal would be prepared, such as a squid fry-up or a pork and mushroom fry-up. Nowadays, in case anyone is still hungry, a succulent arròs de matances and frita de porc are often made for dinner.

Sobrassada i botifarra

Two of the main sausages that are traditionally made at the pig slaughters conducted on family farms are sobrassada and botifarra or botifarró (differentiated by their thickness). Sobrassada is made with meat, spices, salt and paprika and must be cured before it can be eaten. Conversely, botifarró or botifarra is made by adding blood to the mixture and cooking it in a pot, for which reason it can be eaten immediately.