In Saratoga Springs, New York, it's time to ship out the traditional peppermint pigs. It's hard to pinpoint where the tradition actually started, but pigs have always been symbolic of prosperity. In upstate New York, the pig made it into the rituals surrounding Christmas. Now Mike Fitzgerald, owner of Saratoga Sweets, is scrambling to fill holiday orders.
In the old days, the pig was placed on the Christmas dinner table. Father would wrap it in a napkin and crack it with the steel rod used to sharpen knives so the family could share the sweet-tasting bits, Fitzgerald said. But by the mid-20th century, the area holiday tradition went the way of lit candles on Christmas trees.
In 1988, Fitzgerald made a first run of 60 peppermint pigs at the request of the local historical society. He was surprised to see people lining up to buy them, many of them older people who fondly recalled smashing pigs when they were young. He sold out his run and never looked back.