Pig’s Festival (it’s not what you think)

festa_del_nino_2013The 11th edition of the “Festa del Nino” (being “nino” the “pig” in our peasant tradition), is devoted to “lard”.

“Lardo ai giovani” is this year’s motto: a pun difficult to translate into English. “Largo ai giovani” means “make way for the young”, but if you change the letter “g” into a “d” it becomes “Lardo ai giovani” (lard to the young).

Anyway, talking about lard in today’s society, when everyone turns to vegetables and low-fat food (especially after Christmas overeating!) may sound weird. However, in our country life – until not too long ago – lard was the food of the feast.

My mother, who was brought up in the country-side, still remembers how families used to gather when the Nino was killed, and how everyone was involved in making sausages, ham and other delicacies, using the whole pig because, as our peasant saying goes: “del maiale non si butta via niente” (nothing of the pig is thrown away).

I have to ask my mother but besides using the pork”s blood for the so-called “sanguinaccio” or the pork’s brain for omelettes, I think she once told me that peasants used the pig’s bones to make home-made soap.

It may sound cruel, today, talking about killing pigs but in our peasant tradition, until not too long ago, it meant a lot for the country people who had many children and little food to share. So, the killing of the pig was accompanied by a great feast (mors tua vita mea – your death is my life).

The Festa del Nino tries to preserve a tradition which otherwise would go almost extinct.

I myself took part to the 2011 edition with my husband and my in-laws, and – even if I have to admit that I ate very little that night – I suggest you to go to the many events organized within the Festa this year, as the initiative is very uncommon.

The event starts on January 18th and goes on for the whole week-end (until Jan. 20th) with food-tastings, concerts, exhibitions, workshops for children, conferences, dances and much more.

You may down-load the whole programme here.

For info:Festa del Nino, S.Andrea di Suasa, tel. 366 1685626, info@festadelnino.org. http://www.ionino.it


  1. Recently returned from Italy, and had cured lardo for the first time … and thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world. …. and you have an interesting blog!

    • Hello. Thank you for stopping by and for your nice comment on my blog.
      I find your blog very interesting and, lately, I appreciated your posts on the Three Stooges (not popular in Italy – I got to know them during my stay in Illinois, some 20 years ago!) and on the orchestra playing handbells (fascinating).

  2. Hi – this a really interesting blog, so much to check out! I only recently discovered the joys of eating lard, and I absolutely love it! And as Pecora Nera says, you can’t beat Italian sausages!

  3. it’s wonderful that these traditions are not being lost. I remember when I was little and going with my nonna to the farm, and the pig being killed and “non si butta niente”…..

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