Smashing a Peppermint Piggy

Of all the unusual and even silly Christmas traditions, I have discovered this one has families in Saratoga Springs, in New York State taking a hammer and smashing a peppermint pig. Supposedly the tradition started with a local man named Jim Mangay back in the 1880s. At this time Saratoga Springs was a tourist town and he had gone there to work in the hotels. The hotels were looking for a substitute for marzipan candy. Mangay could get peppermint oil form his father’s pharmacy. He used this ingredient to make pig-shaped candies similar to the kind made in different designs using marzipan.

Soon these peppermint pigs started up a new local tradition in Saratoga Spring. After Christmas dinner families passed around a small sack with a peppermint pig candy in it. As each guest takes the sack they whack it with a metal hammer and share the good thing that have happened to them during the past year. The ritual comes to an end with each guest taking a piece of the smashed candy that symbolizes prosperity and good fortune in the coming year.

This custom ended with WW II because of sugar rations and the peppermint pigs were no more. Then in 1988, a local candy maker named Mike Fitzgerald started making this candy again. His company Saratoga Sweets began peppermint pig production using casts of the century-old moulds and the original ingredients, You can buy your own pig candy online now and take up the smashing the peppermint pig tradition,

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