On most southern farms, in days gone by, the first cold snap signaled the end of summer vegetables and the annual hog killing season. Hog killings were very much a time for friends and family to gather. Thanksgiving Day was one the most popular days chosen for this event. By then, the weather had fully changed and the meat would not spoil in the heat .
Hog killings were a neighborhood affair with several families participating and reaping the benefits. Because many families were very poor, the meat and other products that came from the hog killings were what got them through the long winters , without going hungry. A great deal of arduous work was involved in the process , and from start to finish, usually lasted all day. People would come from all around and everyone played a part in the big production.
I grew up in the country and attended MANY hog killings as a child. Because one of the main people in the area who held the hog killings lived directly behind my house, every year, from very early on in my childhood, I had a front row seat to one of the most exciting events of the year. The “festivities” would begin around the crack of dawn and continue well into the night. Most of the night time activities were more socializing than anything. That’s when the cracklins were made in the big black pot and sweet potatoes were roasted in the open fire. Some people even popped popcorn. I remember lots of stories ..lots of jokes ..lots of laughter …and lots of FUN.