Weekly Special: The World’s Largest Matanza

World’s Largest Matanza Boosts Community

Dan Pennington
3 min read
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It’s hard to say you’ve had a true New Mexican experience if you haven’t been to a matanza. For those who haven’t had the joy of attending one, essentially you get to eat a whole pig during a get-together. From bacon to pork chops to chicharrones, they’re an all-out pork bonanza. Now, typically a proper matanza is the neighborhood getting together and using every piece of a pig to make a feast, but what would happen if you scaled that up a little bit? Say by about 10,000 people? Well, that’s what happens when you go visit The World’s Largest Matanza, hosted by the Hispano Chamber of Valencia County. Happening Saturday, Jan 25 from 7am to 3pm, this event is an all-out pig cooking celebration.

First off, this event is a fundraiser, which to date has raised over $130,000 for scholarships that go to Valencia County students in college. If you’ve ever needed a good reason to eat bacon, doing it to support kids attempts to better their future is about as good as it gets. This will be the 20th annual celebration of this pork-based fiesta, meaning they’ve got this down to a science. Second, it’ll be held at 305 Eagle Ln. in Belen, with tickets going for $15 a person, though kids under 12 get in for free. If you buy your tickets in advance, you’ll also get free parking, which is never a bad thing. Please don’t bring your pets. The temptation of meat is far too strong for most dogs already. This would be the ultimate punishment for them.

So what should you expect to find there? From the listing, there should be red chile, red chile-marinated pork in a variety of New Mexican styles, such as carne adovada, ribs and carnitas. Each dish will be accented by fresh tortillas, chicharrones, calabacitas, potatoes, green chile stew and other tasty items, plus live music, dancing, arts and crafts. That’s more than enough eating and celebrating to fill your day.

Besides the benefit of getting to eat freshly cooked pork, what’s the point of it all? According to the HCVC, “The matanza is a centuries-old tradition brought to the New World by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century and is quite possibly the oldest European tradition still practiced in the Americas. We re-introduce the matanza to community members each year as a way of recognizing and honoring this Hispanic tradition.”

There’s very little that doesn’t sell this as the ultimate New Mexico event. It’s all about community, tradition, chile, meat and supporting the future. What else could you possibly ask for?

The World’s Largest Matanza

Saturday, Jan 25


305 Eagle Ln. Belen, NM

$15 for people over 12, 12 and under free

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