At St. Ignat in Bukovina

Most of the Bukovina winter holidays have an agrarian nature and, symbolically, the old year dies while the new one is born, actually a classic representation of the natural life cycle. Although St. Ignatius is a Christian feast, the rituals performed on this very day remind us of the ancient pagan times, a celebration dedicated to the solar and vegetable divinity.The slaughter of the pig is carried out on this day (December 20), replacing a pre-Christian vegetative deity, a god that would die and rise in the winter equinox. Immediately after sacrifice, the dead animal is sung, symbolizing the death of the pre-Christian god by incineration. Then the ears and tail are cut and eaten by the children on the spot.The sacrificed animal is ridden by children, another symbol of an end, this time, the end of the Christmas fast that is near. Then, the head and legs are cut and later used to prepare some ceremonial food (pork chops) served on Christmas, New Year and Epiphany. Threading the rest is the next step. Another popular belief is that those who are merciful should not look at the sacrifice of the animal: if so, the pig will not have a quick death and the meat will not have a fine taste.

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