A pig roast or hog roast is an event or gathering which involves the barbecuing of a whole pig.
Pig roasts, under a variety of names, are a common traditional celebration event in many places including the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba. It is also popular in the United States, especially in the state of Hawaii (a luau) and in the Southern United States (pig pickin’). In Southeast Asia, a pig roast is a staple among the Buddhist, and Christian communities, notably among Catholic Filipinos and Hindu Balinese people, or Buddhist Chinese people.
The tradition of the hog roast goes back millennia and is found in many cultures. There are numerous ways to roast pork, including open fire rotisserie style roasting, and “caja china” style box grilling. Many families traditionally have a pig roast for Thanksgiving or Christmas. In Miami and other areas with large Cuban, Puerto Rican, Honduran or other Caribbean populations pig roasts are often held on Christmas Eve by families and friends, whereas families from Hawaii often hold a roast on Memorial Day.
In various Chinese communities (especially in Southern China), a roast suckling pig is purchased for special family occasions, business launches, or as a ritualistic spiritual offering. For example, one tradition is to offer one or several whole roast suckling pigs to the Jade Emperor to celebrate a Chinese film’s opening. The pig is sacrificed to ward off evils and in prayer for the film’s success. One garnish used to make the dish look more appealing is a circular slice of pineapple and cherry, and is often placed in a red box for luck.
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