Czech Shrovetide Pig
Photographs by Vladimir PomortzeffPublic pig slaughter at Pancake week with followed tasting of pork specialities made from it was one of the most popular Czech traditions for centuries. 'Zabijačkas', as pig slaughters known in the Czech language, were held in almost every Czech village on the eve of Lent. Unfortunately this tradition becomes extinct now. Everything changed after the Czech Republic joined to the European Union. Strict EU hygiene standards are based on facts that pigs should be kept at animal farms, meat should be processed at meat packing factories and all meat products should pass strict supervision, before getting into the stomachs of the EU citizens. It look like the traditional Czech activity is not fit enough with many paragraphs of the EU legislation. Officially public pig slaughters are not prohibited jet, but their organizers are almost balanced at the edge of the law, under the risk of huge fines. As a result the number of 'zabijačkas' increases dramatically every year.
1. Traditional public pig slaughter or 'zabijačka' in the village of Všeň near Turnov, Czech Republic.
2. Traditional public pig slaughter in the village of Všeň near Turnov.
3. Butcher Rudolf Holý stuns the Shrovetide pig with a chopper in the village of Všeň. Nowadays slaughtering guns are usually used for this purpose, but they does not always work as they should. So sometimes butchers have to resort to the old tested methods.
4. Skinning of the Shrovetide pig in the village of Všeň.
5. Collected fresh blood is used for traditional Shrovetide sausage called 'jelítkas'.
6. Skinning of the Shrovetide pig in the village of Všeň.
7. Butcher František Valenta and his son Jaroslav skin the Shrovetide pig in Týniště nad Orlicí.
8. Skinning of the Shrovetide pig in Týniště nad Orlicí.
9. Butcher Rudolf Holý cuts up the Shrovetide pig in the village of Všeň.
10. Butcher Rudolf Holý cuts up the Shrovetide pig in the village of Všeň.
11. Butcher Rudolf Holý cuts up the Shrovetide pig in the village of Všeň.
12. Cauldron with boiled pork called 'ovar' in the village of Všeň.
13. Traditional Shrovetide sausage called 'jelítkas' boiled in a cauldron in the village of Všeň. 'Jelítkas' are made from minced pork, bread crumb and fresh blood.
14. Butcher Rudolf Holý Man checks boiled pork in the village of Všeň.
15. Participants of the Shrovetide carnival arrive to test pork specialities in the village of Všeň.
16. Butcher Rudolf Holý and the mayor of Všeň village Ivan František Herbst drink beer after the pig slaughter.
17. Still life with a cut ear.
The photographs of this feature were shot in March 2011.
Copyright © 2011 Vladimir Pomortzeff