In Chinese culture, the Lunar New Year 2019 is the Year of the Pig where Chinese communities around the world celebrated the Year of the Pig Parade last February. Here in the U.S., several states celebrate Pigs on Parade for fundraising events using live pigs. In the Philippines, the folks of the towns of Balayan and Batangas feature the crispy roast pig or lechon at their annual local fiesta in June. The lechons go on parade surrounded by barbed wire to deter greedy hands.
At the centerpiece of any Filipino fiesta table, the lechon, or whole roast pig, is king. So prized is this succulent dish that the folks of Balayan in Batangas have highlighted the feast of their patron saint, St. John, with a tribute to golden-red lechon. On the eve of the fiesta, an anniversary ball is held at the town plaza, where the lechon queen is crowned. Next morning, after mass at the Immaculate Conception Church, at least 50 lechons skewered on long bamboo poles are gathered in anticipation of the festivities.
The dress of each roast reflects the theme of the participating civic and social organizations. Medical associations, for instance, present their pig wearing a doctor’s uniform, complete with stethoscope and mask.
The array of roasts is paraded and soon becomes the object of mischief. Pranksters hurl water or beer over the roast pigs, drenching the bearers and onlookers. A wet free-for-all follows and the only objects left unscathed are the few lechon clad in raincoats. The Parada ng Lechon remains one of the most riotous fiestas held in the Philippines.
After the parade, the lechons are taken to their respective home or club headquarters, where the feasting and drinking begin in earnest. But true to the spirit of fiesta, some groups may surrender their prized roast to the crowds of merrymakers. Once again, it is free for all, only this time, everyone is busy stuffing themselves with the delicacy.
Source: Insight Guide Philippines by Discovery Channel