" Every pig gets its San Martin" or the variant " Every pig gets its San Martin" is one of those popular sayings that is so appropriate on some occasions.

The day of San Martin was the traditional day of the slaughter. By extension, it is said when you want to express that all good streaks come to an end, that even the luckiest person has a bad day.

It will be precisely San Martín who gives the starting signal on November 11. The following months he plays pork.

In our times, overcome the secular penury in which the domestic economies of rural areas developed, the massacre continues to be maintained in all its integrity, the pleasant and festive atmosphere; continues to convene relatives, grouping them before the same task and the same table, enjoying the hubbub that our children now raise or the talk that happens at the table, in which stories of each one's anecdotes are reviewed.

The Matanza Festival, a tradition that is being lost, is a way of remembering old times and, incidentally, teaching our children the steps that must be taken from the time the Pig leaves the pigpen, catch it, kill it, burn it, scrape it , take out the belly, hang it, butcher it and also the way of making blood sausages, coscarones, chorizos... La Matanza is presented to us today with the same attributes and enchantments that accompanied the festival when we were children.

For those of us who spent childhood in those moments, we have engraved in the depths of our memory images that make up an essential and indivisible part of that child we were. They are memorable dates: Christmas with the singing of the Lottery on the radio, the Grape Harvest, the Carnivals, the day of the town festival, but the feast day par excellence was La Matanza.

Many were the pleasures that accompanied the days of slaughter. On the one hand, there was the family apology for not going to school, on the other, the food that awaited us, in addition to being abundant, was varied, which constituted a far from negligible counterpoint to the everlasting and monotonous stew. But we also enjoyed games and entertainment that the grown-ups put on for us on those dates, and at night we harbored the hope of putting some pesetillas in our bag as a result of the tips that neighbors and relatives gave us when we distributed the calducho, the black pudding. There were many novelties that the massacre brought so that they would not remain in our memory.

The slaughter of the pig remains in its essence, which in recent decades mechanization has been introduced in some parts of the process that has reduced it in time, effort and less use of people, the more hands the less time.


Domestic Slaughter Law

The slaughter of animals outside the slaughterhouse for self-consumption is a traditional activity that continues to this day. In some cases, as occurs with pigs slaughtered in private homes for self-consumption, it retains a certain seasonal importance in Castilla y León.

The main health risks linked to the consumption of these products have been due mainly to certain communicable diseases, such as trichinellosis, cysticercosis and some other pathologies of local interest.

The  Order of September 25, 2000 , of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, regulates the recognition of pigs slaughtered, in private homes, for self-consumption (BOCyL. No. 192, of October 3). This provision is intended to guarantee, fundamentally, an adequate analysis to avoid the appearance of clinical cases of human trichinellosis, and the general characteristics of authorization are established without exceptions in all the municipalities of Castilla y León, the participation of collaborating veterinarians, the registration of pathologies of sanitary interest in the inspected animals, the instructions for action in cases of cysticercosis due to  Cysticercus cellulosae, special attention to health education activities, and research into the etiological agent of whipworms, tuberculosis, hydatid cysts, and other agents found to pose a risk to public health [1] .


pig breeding

They were bought or left by the one who had a sow for breeding, the time could be two August or one year, preferably a male, since the females could not be made at the time of the arrival of the sacrifice to be in heat. at that moment.

The pig was raised in the corral of the house itself, in a pigsty or pigsty.

It feeds on ground barley made into flour, or with some ground corn wrapped in water making a paste, where leftover bread, food or vegetables are thrown, trying to put as many kg as possible, with an average layer of Bacon used to be highly appreciated, but now it is not so much that the breed of pig influences it, those of today are of little bacon.

To make it as comfortable as possible, the bed that is made of straw is always clean, without ever lacking clean water.

Fully bred pig for slaughter

parts of the pig


Preparation of utensils and pork

The day before, the utensils that will be needed at the time of the slaughter are prepared, since later it will not be possible to improvise, the knives are sharpened for bleeding and quartering, the chopping blades and the machine, the slaughter baths, pozaletas and basins, the shreds to scrape the pig, the torch to singe the skin, the slaughter bench, ropes, hooks to hold it and hang it, pan for the blood of the blood sausages, etc.

The pig is left without eating the day before slaughter, so that its intestines (guts) are as clean as possible.

The slaughter in Villafáfila is done for three or four days, where we will narrate the events of each one.

We will describe how the slaughter was done in the most manual way and the way with the mechanized parts.


1st Day. Sacrifice and cleaning of viscera

Before the start, each one had already defined their part in the slaughter, the men were the ones who grabbed and killed the pig, scraping it and dismembering it, the women collect the blood, prepare the hot water, clean of guts that is used to stuff the pigs. sausages, internal organs, tongue, lungs, kidneys, heart that, in addition to the people of the house, were accompanied by other relatives and neighbors, who entertained them with pasta and liquors to compensate for the cold of the time.

The butcher gave the knives the last edge for the sacrifice.

Knives of slaughter

When the pig is in the house's pig bin, the animal already suspected something and is somewhat nervous, either because it had been left without eating the day before so that its guts (intestines) are clean, or because it feels movements strangers in the corral of like several people. Now, if there are several, the one that is believed to be the most opportune is chosen.

Be it one way or another, the point is that you have to catch it among a few, you use the hook that is embedded under the jaw to hold it and take it from the area, it can be done with a sliding rope to the nose, this is more dangerous , placed on the edge of the bench, climbs strongly and holds, some of the tail, others of the rear or front legs, tying them so that it does not move, with some frequency the animal escaped and it was time to try again, already well secured by the butcher does its job, sticks the knife in the exact spot in the pig's Adam's apple right at the junction of breathing and vein so that the animal bleeds normally, according to the skill of the butcher they knew how to make their scream more or less,in those moments the pig is expelling the blood it is vital that there is nothing left so that the meat does not go bad and it is better cleaned, as the blood falls a basin is placed to collect the adequate blood for the blood sausages, which when falling in the casserole will be turned immediately so that it does not coagulate, a little will be caught and the rest will be collected in another container that will be cooked and eaten with the meal.

Hook to catch the pig


Pig that is on the bench ready for slaughter by the butcher (Dionisio Alonso Alonso "Tabares", Modesto Gómez de León "Moreno" Florentino Rodríguez "Tino-Use"


When the pig gives the last shakes and its screeches can hardly be heard, the children who have been witnessing the whole tragedy snort calmly and recover from the fright that has kept them overwhelmed, some will come to pull its tail, others its leg. and others, what they want is to see him soon made sausages.

Next, the pig is lowered from the pit, some straw   or some hundred-year-old straw is placed on it, (now, the straw that we will put will be, the one that we have saved when we harvest) on top, forming a kind of hut, and it is lit starting always by the nose and trying to burn all the bristles (the hairs). When the flame goes out and having verified that it is well charred, it is turned over, now upside down, some stones are placed on the sides to keep the balance, and the hundredth straws are placed on it again so that it burns on the side. from the belly, then a handful of straw will be taken and the booties will be burned in order to remove the dirty covers.

Next process, the scraping and washing of all the skin, with some scrapers, it is scratched in order to, on the one hand, cut the remains of bristles that have not been completely burned and, on the other hand, clean the skin of all the crap it has . Using hot water on the skin, in order that 1º the hot skin is better scraped, 2º the hands also appreciate it because it is usually quite cold at that time. The hooves of the animal's legs are also removed.

The step before hanging is to open the belly, cut the soul from which we will eat delicious torreznos, and the rest of the belly (the Bacon), (being careful not to cut the intestines) then a hook will be inserted through the hole that we will have left when removing the piss along with the ass and it will be hung, so that in this position the belly can be removed without any difficulty, and all the organs, heart, livers, kidneys, (guts) intestines that we will use in the process of stuffing the chorizos.

 Before being able to consume any part of the pig, we had to cut some pieces of meat from the gizzards and the pillars of the diaphragm, so that the Veterinarian can analyze them if they are in good condition, so that he can eat them calmly.

The butters are removed, they are later used for cooking and for making sweets. After cleaning its interior, the pig is left hanging until the next day to cool down, but without the frost falling on it, it is left in a covered area.

Much of the described task has changed, if it is tied to the nose with a hook or a steel cable (today it is shot with a device that stuns it and to cause less suffering) it is tied by the hind legs and tied to the shovel of a tractor, where the pig hangs in this way, it no longer takes as many people as before to hold it when it was lying on the bench, being face down, the slaughterer stabbed it, causing it to bleed to death.

nose loop


Pig tied with a bow by the snout


Pig tied to the tractor shovel


Matarife at the time of sacrifice for bleeding


The singeing made with straw has given way to a more modern way, a singeing device adapted to a butane cylinder is used, resulting in a more comfortable, uniform and faster singeing.

Washing is done the same way with hot water and using the scrapers, until it is completely clean.

Scorched with a burner attached to a butane cylinder to remove hair from the pig, scraping the pig with scrapers


Scrapers to remove charred skin


Scraping the pig, pouring hot water to better remove dirt from the skin


Pork part already scraped and washed


Today the pig is no longer hung and left outdoors, it is quartered in parts, leaving the meat to cool normally until the next day or at least a few hours, which to advance towards the end of the afternoon it is disarmed and removing the meat and leaving it to cool overnight.

In the same way, parts are taken for the subsequent analysis of the meat by the veterinarian.

Pork butchering time


Pig during its butchering, taken out of intestines


Butchered the pig moment to remove its spine, the shin


A typical joke to the person who did not know about the massacre in his first time was to send him through the largest basin or basin to pour out his brains, when he comes with what he ordered they are thrown out, seeing that the space he occupies was less of a cup and everyone laughing, he realizes that they have just played a joke on him, that is how it goes from one generation to another.

Parts of the pig for later skill



2nd Day, quartering and mincing of the meat

The utensils with which to butcher the pig, which has spent the whole night hanging in the night watchman, now under cover to cool down, will be prepared; We will chop it up, trying to get all the parts whole, for this purpose some practice and skill are needed, always sticking to the bone with the knife, otherwise we will destroy parts as tasty as the loins, ribs, sirloins or hams. After having cut it up, the pieces that are going to be consumed as torreznos will be separated, the meat that will be minced for sausages, the bones, backbone, legs that will be used in the stew, the bacon, we will also separate the pieces of bacon that will go to make the shells.

Pieced of a shoulder


Cutting up part of the bacon


Pieced meat in the wooden bowl


        The meat used for the chorizos and salchichón is minced before it was done by hand, today by machines that work by electricity, simplifying the work.


minced meat


Minced pork meat, to wrap or with paprika for chorizo, or to make sausage

The meat that goes for the chorizos is made with paprika depending on the taste of each house, since they are more spicy or not, which is also added from 0.20g to 0.40g per kilo, with salt from 0.08g to 0, 1/7g, garlic, and the salami adding a preservative, then they are kneaded to wrap the meat with the spices, to make them uniform, at the end they are squeezed, the chorizo ​​at the end are given a small layer of pepper, leaving it to rest to that the flavor of the respective condiments is taken.


Preservative for sausage



Kneading for chorizo


Kneaded meat for the chorizo ​​(Chichas)


Kneading for sausage


Sausage kneading


The ribs and loin are marinated in a paprika wrap with a small paste where the ribs are impregnated and left for several days so that the rib and loin are eaten whole as well.

The food of this 2nd day is mainly made up of the chumaros, these are fillets of marbled lean meat and they are very tasty.

Chumarros, the first pork fillets


The "shipping" was carried out, it consisted of giving part of the pig to relatives or neighbors, it was done by the children because they always gave a tip, today this part of the slaughter is almost gone.


3rd Day, rest of the meat.

The meat stays all day at rest in the baths or this step is canceled going to the sausage day.


4th Day, Chorizo ​​and Sausage Sausage.

This is the last day of the slaughter, the casings have been kept all night in salted water, where they become fat and thin are the casings of the pig that were cleaned the first day, the sausage machine is prepared, which is the same of the minced, the blades are simply removed and a funnel adapted to it is placed at the end. One person is the one who is taking the meat and putting it into the machine by turning the crank, another is in charge of putting the casings into the funnel, controlling how the sausage comes out, extending it, and to finish, others are dedicated to tying, first the ends are tied and then in between, as requested by the sausage, the longaniza is minced with punches so that there is no air left and so that it can later breathe, they are poured into small bowls until they are full.

Today the casings are bought and are from other animals or synthetic, if anything, only the cular is chosen to make sausages of that type, they are larger but very tasty, the machine is no longer hand-cranked but electric, which makes it move forward lots of time and less effort.

Old machine with its crank to give the minced meat and the funnel to put the gut

Electric sausage making machine


Filling the machine and leaving the sausage through the funnel controlled by another person


Chorizo ​​and salami tied


chopped chorizo


 Even the pig's gut is used to make the intestine fatter, the so-called cular, it is of great importance.


chorizo ​​sausage


Freshly stuffed chorizo

Freshly stuffed sausage

For the cure of the chorizo ​​and salchichón, it is taken to bread boxes or doubles of the houses, preferably adobe, which is where it is best preserved, they are hung on the pole (sticks suspended from the ceiling) and with the winter frosts they dry out, not he has to give them no air, so he covers all the windows or the light well, always watching over their healing.

Chorizo ​​hanging on the stick for curing


This day of food is the traditional chichas, which are the meat of the chorizo, which are put in a pan and nothing else to heat, so you can taste how hot they are.


Some girls with egg to the fire a great delicacy


The ribs, loins, bones are marinated, leaving them in a sauce with paprika for days so that it takes on the flavor of the ingredients.

Everything is eaten from the pig, such as legs, ears, livers, hearts, kidneys, which accompany different dishes.

Today the needs are no longer like past times, the bacon is hardly consumed, a piece is always made for the stew, the pork belly (bacon) is made from the meat interspersed between the bacon.

From the bacon we will also separate the pieces that, put on a slow fire, we will remove the coscarones, which with a little salt are usually very tasty. These same coscarones will be the ones that will be part of the famous coscarones cakes.

Bacon to make coscarones

Coscarones that will also be used to make the Cascarón cake



Marinate: Prepare the minced meat of the pork to make sausages

Marinades: Loins, sausages, etc. put in a pot with butter and oil.

Artesa: Wooden container to knead or mix the slaughter meat.

Offal: Set of lungs, liver and trachea of ​​the pig.

Asadurilla: Stew made of fried onion, garlic and the set of lungs, liver and trachea of ​​the pig.

Berrón: Stallion pig.

Botillo - Bandullo - llosco: Stomach of the pig in which marinated pork meat is introduced and later it is smoke-cured.

Carricias: Vegetable stems similar to reeds that once dry are used to singe the pig.

Singe: Burn the skin of the pig.

Chichas-jijas-picadillo: Ground meat prepared with paprika and other species that is used to make sausages.

Chon, pig, pig, gocho: Pork

Chorizos: Sausage of minced meat in pork intestines.

Chumarro-sumarro: Fillet of fresh pork meat, grilled on the day of slaughter.

Tape: Belly of the animal that must be removed to access the offal.

Coscarones-chorrejitos-correjitos-chicharro: Pieces or pellets of lard that give when frying, is used to make cakes, donuts, etc.

Cubil-Pocilga: block of the pigs.

Cuezo: Pile of wood where the food is thrown to the pigs.

Currar: Constant surveillance of sausages subjected to natural drying by means of cold.

Destazar: Chop the pig in the slaughter.

Dornajo: Feeder of the pigs.

Encetar: Start the ham.

Strand: ham.

Hozar: Poking the pigs with the snout.

Latizo: Long pig.

Loin: Musculature of the forelimbs of the pig.

Longaniza: Chorizo ​​in one piece made with the best pork meat.

Skein: Casings for black pudding, preserved in salting and rolled up like a skein.

Lard: fatty part of the pig.

Matachín-matarife: Person in charge of slaughtering the pig.

Slaughter: Set of tasks that are carried out when slaughtering the pig: salting, curing sausage, making sausages, black pudding, etc.

Mondongo: Broth that results from cooking blood sausages.

Mondongo: Mixture of cooked pork blood, onion, ground pepper and various spices used to make blood sausages.

Bow: Casings for chorizos, preserved in salting and rolled up like a bow.

Black pudding: Sausage made with cooked pig blood, onion, ground pepper and various spices.

Mincer: Machine to mince meat and make sausages.

Pringue: Fat that comes from pork bacon.

Sabadeño-sabadiego-botagueño: Low quality chorizo ​​made from the meat of the heart, lungs, stomach and other remains of the pig.

Sirloin: Muscular layer of the pig that extends between the ribs and the loin.

Tajo: Table to cut the meat or make the slaughter.

Bacon: Pork fatty meat or layer of harrow located between the meat and the skin.

Toragalla. Fried pork liver and kidney.

Torrezno-Torresnos: Cooked bacon.

Unitos: Nails of the pigs.

Varal: Long stick that is used to hang the slaughter of the pig.

Zambomba-pedorra: Pork bladder swollen in the shape of a ball.

Ethnographic vocabulary on the massacre compiled by the Cultural Association. Carpe Diem.

[1] Domestic slaughter law:



Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.

The traditional pig slaughter in Villafáfila.




Massacre of the family: Domínguez - Martínez de Villafáfila.


Ethnographic vocabulary on slaughter compiled by:

 Carpe Diem Cultural Association. - Villarrin de Campos.


Domestic slaughter law:



Javier Fernandez Fernandez.

Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.



Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.


Transcription and montage:

Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.

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