Published on August 13th, 2012 | by Adrian Simpson0
A Squealy good time: The Festival of the Pig
It’s quite stark that having spent six months documenting a colourful alternative world of racing, celebrating and general mucking about; France has been conspicuous by its absence. Clearly with the Germans and Spanish spending nearly every weekend throwing fruit at each other, naked, it’s pretty hard to make an impact on the international bizarre festival scene, however, The Festival of the Pig or La Pourcailhade changes everything.
This festival is held on the second Sunday of August each year in, in South Western France and not surprisingly is a celebration of all things porcine. Now, what is a surprise, however, is that a country so committed to pushing the boundaries of culinary exploration they would probably pop out their own eyeballs and have a chomp, this is not really about the act of eating the pig. This is celebrating the wonderful world of trotters, curly tails and stubby snouts.
The usually urbane French people so beloved of jumpers over shoulders and a different outfit for every hour of the day immerse themselves in things like the Best Pig Outfit competition, a piglet race complete with some under the radar bookmaker activity and every local business develops its own piggy character. By far the highlight of the weekend, and probably the last thing you could imagine De Gaulle, Mitterrand or Vanessa Paradis attempting, is The French Pig Squealing Championships. Here (mainly) grown men sporting pink felt ears and homemade snouts try their hardest to sound like a pig, be it a newborn piglet, to a sow eating and even the noises made during pig lovemaking.
The event is run by The Brotherhood of The Pig, who, sound terrifying and funny in equal measure, and who just like the most shadowy of organisations are very tricky to track down. Quite disturbingly all routes to find out more about them lead to a concrete pouring website. There is of course some eating, although witnessing successions of French people trying to scoff as many metres of Black Pudding as quickly as they can should see you with a brand new inability to consume even a single bacon flavoured crisp. All in all a great opportunity to get to know the French just that bit better eat some cooked pig and drink some of the local vino.