It's my Portuguese family's annual "Matanca" (pronounced "Ma tun sa'" ... the "c" has a cedilla .... a tail hanging from its bottom as a signal to pronounce the "c" like the letter "s"), which took place on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at my Uncle Fred and Aunt Maxine's farm just outside of Easton, CA near Fresno, CA
Literally, the word translates from Portuguese as "killing". It's a Portuguese tradition where, in this case, it's the killing of a farm-raised pig (but I believe that it could be any farm animal) for the purpose of feeding a village. These celebrations can take place year-round. But our family does this in January.
The ritual begins with the blessing of the animal in thanksgiving for the food it will provide for the village or family. Then the animal is slaughtered, degutted, and put on display to air-dry before its parts become many of the Portuguese foods that we all know. One of those foods is the Portuguese sausage, linguica.
Families from the Azores Islands brought this tradition to the U.S. centuries ago and we still do this today. My grandparents initiated our family tradition years ago, like they do in their village of Fajazinha on the island of Flores.
In our family's case today, we purchase the meat in slabs. Five days before the celebration, people who want to make linguica (Portuguese sausage) come to my uncle and aunt's place to cut up the slabs into pieces small enough to fit through a hand-mill meat grinder, and get seasoned.
After five days of seasoning, (in this case, Saturday), the process of making linguica begins!
In essence, this is a linguica-making party!
My uncle and aunt invite family and friends from all over California and the world to either participate, watch (or in my case ... drink!)
After the liguica is made, we all have a scrumptious Portuguese lunch.
Then the group takes the linguica to the smoke houses (yes ... my uncle has smoke houses) for curing. That process takes a few days. When the meat is cured, people can come out and pick up their final product ... linguica!
Enjoy the photos! (click on the Google Plus link above... didn't have luck posting an example photo on Ello)