Any Filipino party or gathering is incomplete without Lechon or a whole roasted pig. Filipinos would say, “Magpapakatay ako ng baboy kung…” or “Patabain mo si inang baboy ha” if they are hoping for something to celebrate or just they are teasing one another. As Filipinos love to celebrate, their rich culture has diversified fiestas in every region and has a feast for the Lechon. In one of Manila’s provinces called Batangas, they celebrate “Parada ng Lechon” every June. They would prepare Lechon on the streets and organize the street with a long table, usually from Lechon shops and restaurants.
The term Lechon actually refers to the style of cooking; it can be a spit-roasted cow, goat, or pig depending on their preference, but the usage of pigs in Lechon is more popular. Since it is the Philippines’ favorite, let us explore the history of Lechon.
Native Filipinos have been roasting pork even before their colonizers came. They used roasted pork and even other animals as an offering for their religious rituals. When the Spaniards arrived, they are responsible and gave the idea to roast the pigs as a whole because originally, Filipinos cut pigs into parts before roasting them.
But actually, the Spaniards have a plan in their mind. It was to strengthen Christianity all over the Philippines. The Spaniards have seen some Muslims and Jews in some places in the archipelago. Thus, they have partly used Lechon to bait them to convert themselves as a Christian. They have achieved their goal as the use of pig meat has been easily influenced the tradition and culture of the Filipinos.
The Lechon in the Philippines as of today has evolved into different versions in some regions. They differ in recipes and seasonings, as well as they began roasting whole chicken too.