National Roast Suckling Pig Day is celebrated on December 18th of each year. The staff at National Whatever Day were unable to discover the origins of National Roast Suckling Pig Day.
A suckling pig (or sucking pig, according to the OED) is a piglet fed on its mother’s milk and slaughtered between the ages of two and six weeks. Suckling pig is traditionally cooked whole, often roasted, in various cuisines. It is usually prepared for special occasions and gatherings.
The term derives from the word “suckling”, which refers to a young mammal still being suckled.
The meat from suckling pig is pale and tender and the cooked skin is crisp and can be used for pork rinds. The texture of the meat can be somewhat gelatinous due to the amount of collagen in a young pig.
There are many ancient recipes for suckling pig from Roman and Chinese cuisine. Since the pig is one of the first animals domesticated by human beings for slaughter, many references to pigs are found in human culture. The suckling pig, specifically, appears in early texts such as the sixth-century Salic law. As an example of a law governing the punishment for theft, Title 2, article 1, is, in Latin, Si quis porcellum lactantem furaverit, et ei fuerit adprobatum (malb. chrane calcium hoc est) CXX dinarios qui faciunt solidos III culpabilis iudicetur. “If someone has stolen a suckling pig and this is proven against him, the guilty party will be sentenced to 120 denarii which adds up to three solidus.” The words “chrane calcium” are written in Frankish; “calcium” (or “galza” in other manuscripts) is the gloss for “suckling pig”; porcellum lactantem. These glosses in Frankish, the so-called Malberg-Glossen, are considered the earliest attested words in Old Dutch.