hogOn 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.

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3 thoughts on “Hog Killing Time by Patricia Neely-Dorsey

  1. Mary Prater

    I really enjoyed this post!

  2. Maggie Watkins

    You really painted a picture in my mind of the excitement about the happenings of this special day. Although I grew up in Mississippi too, I never experienced a hog killing “up close and personal” until now. Thank you for sharing this. So many kids , and adults, today don’t know how our food gets to our tables. This a truly a treasure of a memory.

  3. Jim Armour

    I was raised in the city but had the opportunity to attend several hog killings and they were fun occasions (except for the hog!). These particular events, in my case, were prior to barbecues where the whole hog was barbecued but it involved several senior family members who had the experience to process the hog, from building the fire to heat the water to scald the hair from the skin to cleaning the animal and dividing up the parts that weren’t to be barbecued. Most memorable events in my life have involved food in some way. Now that many of those family members have gone on to their reward I remember them even more fondly. Thank you for making me think of them again.

    Jim Armour
    Somerville, Tn

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