A Time for Everything
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
I was in Hungary for two weeks earlier this month on the Winter Traditions Tour hosted through our company, Magyar Marketing. We planned to participate in several activities that typically happen in the winter months, when it is cold in Hungary.
According to Weather Spark, daily high temperatures are 44°F with daily low temperatures of 30°F. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for what we were hoping to accomplish, which included a horse drawn sleigh ride in picture perfect snow, copious amounts of forralt bor (mulled wine), and a pig killing party.
Disclaimer: We, ourselves, did not kill the pig, but someone did. We did take part in the observation of the pig processing and several of our tour members participated in the kolbász (sausage) stuffing competition.
Why would we do this?
All but one of us in the tour group had Hungarian heritage. All of our Hungarian grandparents came to the United States in the early 1900’s and we were interested to experience a bit more about their lives and their traditions in Magyarország (Hungary) Of course, it is possible to have this type of party in the United States, but it is much more fun to have it in Hungary! I have traveled there a number of times over the last 6 years and each time I learn a little more of the language. I also learn more about Hungary, my relatives, and myself.
When I visit my relatives in Hungary, there are gardens, vineyards, and fruit and nut trees. And, there are chickens, ducks, and pigs in the backyard. These are not pets. The chickens and ducks produce eggs for a while and then they end up providing a larger meal for the family. The pig does a great job composting leftovers and then turning them into many wonderful meals, including a family favorite, szalonna (bacon). If you love bacon, you would love szalonna — it is flavorful and perfect!
When I was much younger, we were visiting a family in very rural Transylvania (the area of Romania that used to belong to Hungary prior to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920). There was a well and an outhouse and no running water. It was a memorable experience for me. I enjoyed running around in the yard and playing with the chickens. I even had a favorite. But the next day, my favorite was missing. When I understood what had happened, I couldn’t eat dinner. Farmyard-to-table has been difficult concept for me to wholeheartedly embrace and participate in.
My relatives in Hungary who have backyard animals for food waste nothing when it comes time to processing. Chicken feet are in the soup. The smoked meats in the house hang out in a special room. When we met our relatives for the first time in 2012, we met the wedding pig. The wedding was about 9 months away but the pig was being well fed and well cared for in order to provide important protein and nutrients for the wedding guests. The time to kill signaled the celebration, which is a much different concept than what I think of when I hear the word “kill”. I am just a few generations removed from that idea in my family, but those who are into farm life know there is a time to kill. It might be because of disease, it might be due to the time of year, and it might just be time to celebrate.
On the Way,