“Running the Pig” Festival in Hanoi
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VietNamNet Bridge – In Duyen Yet Village, Hong Thai Commune, Phu Xuyen District of Hanoi, a festival named chay lon (running the pig) is held on the seventh day of the first lunar month in memory of a banquet that happened over 2,000 years ago.
When troops passed the very same village on the way to a battle, the old men from the village TT/VNE/VNN
offered the soldiers a banquet. The general leading the troops agreed but required the
banquet to be prepared quickly so the troops could get on with engaging the enemy. Immediately pigs were butchered for the banquet. Today, at this festival three or five pigs are
killed. Ten days before the festival, the pigs are fed with glutinous rice gruel and bathed
with fragrant leaves in preparation. On the day, the pigs are placed in red-painted cages and enjoy a parade around the
village before arriving at the communal house. Two young men with red
clothes then take care of one pig. When a drum-call ends, the pigs are carried off to be sacrificed. The internal organs
of the pigs are taken out, cleaned, and placed on a tray together with the pig's head
as an offering. Must-haves are the pig's head, tail, heart, liver, kidneys,
and the meat from its shoulder and ass. The time between the sacrifice and completion of the tray is a mere to or three minutes
thanks to a highly coordinated team who make the festival seem somewhat
like a showcase for the art of butchering. This year, the festival gathered three teams of 21 people. Their tasks were to slaughter
the pig, display the pork in nine dishes and offer the dishes to the ancestors.
All these tasks must be completed within 2-3 minutes.