Now that we are heading into December and the New Year, we are all getting ready to celebrate the holidays. Food is tied in with many traditions of the past and is still an important part of many customs and celebrations we enjoy today. Pork is the most popular meat in the world. With this being said I am going to highlight some of the cultures and festivities around the world that celebrate with pork!
African American’s Celebrating Kwanza with Pork Roast:
Kwanza is a secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26th to January 1st as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values. Pork has long been part of the African-American diet; pork was most often smoked and cooked with vegetables to provide flavor and a small portion of meat, when most African-Americans could not afford fresh cuts of meat. A popular dish is Barbados Pork Roast which is flavored with spices native to many of the Caribbean islands.
Eastern European New Year Spit Roasted Pig:
Eastern Europeans ring in the New Year with festivities and special foods thought to bring good luck, health and prosperity, one of which is pork. Pork’s rich fat content symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Pork is also considered a symbol of progress because pigs root forward. Spit roasted pig is common, as is roast pork loin, sausages and more.
Chinese New Year’s Pork Dumplings:
The Chinese often make pork dumplings in the New Year to symbolize wealth and prosperity. This is almost common knowledge, but did you know that another tradition is for families to serve Sweet and Sour Pork if they are hoping for a lot of grandchildren, this is because the Cantonese word for “sour” sounds like the word for grandchild.
North American Easter Dinner Ham:
In North America, ham is a traditional Easter food. In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration, and the fresh pork that wasn’t consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for spring. The curing process took a long time, and the first hams were ready around the time Easter rolled around. Thus, ham was a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner.
Irish St. Patrick’s Day Pork:
St Patrick’s Day in Ireland is known for having a meal of corned beef. However, this is just a North American belief. In Ireland, pork often serves as the main course. While cured beef is consumed by some, pork is the more popular dish among the Irish. This might stem from the fact that although Ireland is known for producing beef products, the beef was mostly exported and not eaten very often by the masses.
North American Breakfast of Bacon and Eggs:
Even today in North America pork is becoming an undeniable tradition. Bacon and eggs for a Sunday brunch is common place and has been for recent decades. Bacon, ham and sausage are all popular breakfast items when you are being served a full hot breakfast.
It looks as though pork products have stood the test of time, from traditions made centuries ago to modern-day traditions that are being formed as we speak. A tradition is technically “a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time.” With this being said, I encourage everyone to go ahead and forge your own traditions. In fact, maybe this holiday season I will “break bacon” with my friends and family.