top of page

The pig’s house. Zabijačka

If you visit the Șinteu area during the first part of December, you have every chance of being invited to a „ zabijačka”, i.e., the celebration of pig slaughter, a century-old tradition, still respected in many households. While for some people it represents a harsh practice too, for others, this custom is an important part of the local culture, which brings people together, being an opportunity of joy and celebration. In the old days, the growing and slaughtering of pigs in households was carried out several times a year, due to economic rationales. People used to slaughter hogs to store their meat for the harsh winter months or for the meals organized in the family on the occasion of important celebrations: weddings, baptisms.


Pig farming was an old occupation, attested in the Plopiș Mountains area ever since the 14th century. The oak and beech forests provided food for pigs (acorns and beechnuts). Hog arming was a basic occupation for Slovaks in the Plopiș Mountains region, providing them with an important amount of food. Normally, the hog slaughtering day proceeded as follows: at around 6 in he morning, the man responsible for slaughtering the pig arrived, most of the time, the butcher of the community. Then, the butcher got to work: he stabbed the pig, hanged it, and then started slicing it, separating the main parts: the head, the collar, the thighs, the belly, the back. During this time, the women and the kitchen helpers prepared in big pots what was needed for cooking the pork products: hot water for boiling the organs and cleaning the intestines; rice for preparing some types of sausage. Some of the meat was used during the day, to prepare the sausages or other processed products; the other part of the meat was kept for winter. For this purpose, it was smoked and stored in lard jars, which were then kept cold in the cellar. This way, the Slovaks ensured their meat supply during the whole winter.

Some of the traditional dishes prepared by the Slovaks on the occasion of the pork mozgy: ground meat mixed with eggs and brains; jaternice or hurky: sausages made of rice and offal; tlačenka or biršojt: pieces of meat, herbs, and garlic, all in a gelatin mix (pig head cheese); ham (šunka); podbradnik: jowl; salo with garlic and paprika (slanina); klobasa: smoked Slovak sausages; traditional liver pâté; roast pork.

bottom of page