A festival of extremely fat pigs
The Pigs of God Festival 神豬 (sometimes called contest) is an annual religious celebration in Sanxia celebrated by Hakka people, usually around Chinese new year. Pigs are fed so much, that they can't move. Then they're weighed and publicly slaughtered and displayed near the temple. The festival draws huge crowds and a big media attention. But for some people in and outside Taiwan, this only few decades long tradition a festival of cruelty. There are websites and petitions demanding an abolishment of the forced inhumane feeding of pigs, who usually exceed 700 kg and suffer major internal injuries. I have to add that according to sources, this way of feeding pigs is illegal in Taiwan, but the law is not enforced, because the authorities don't want to meddle into the affairs of local religious groups.
The festival originates in the 19th century during the Qing Dynasty. At that time, the pigs were sacrificed, but not force-fed. During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan (1895-1945) the Japanese encouraged the locals to feed the pigs more, so that locals could have more pork to eat (in those times meat was not as abundant as now). In the recent decades however, pork is not scarce anymore and the feeding of the pigs turned into a contest. Some believe that the fatter their pig is, the more blessings they will receive from the Gods (source).
These are some photos of the event:
Here are more articles on the issue, if you are interested:
- FunMaxine: Size Does Matter at Controversial Pigs of God Festival
- Life in Taiwan: Sacrificial Pigs, God Pigs and Festivals 神豬
- Tell Taiwan: Stop Using Live Animals in the Cruel "Pigs of God" Festival
- Chiehwen: Flickr photos of the slaughtering of the pig