Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm Home!

I got back stateside late Saturday afternoon.  Very glad to be back home and to see my babe after a month apart, the longest separation between us in more than 20 years!  Even though I'm home, I've got to deliver at least one more post about Oaxaca. The Noche de los Rabanos, or night of the radishes, was one of the main reasons I went to Oaxaca.

The festival takes place on December 23rd and is sacred and profane.  Display tables are set-up around the entire edge of the zocalo, or town square, and groups from all over the Valley of Oaxaca create and display scenes made completely with cut and carved radishes!  The festival originated in the late 1800's when farmers began growing many European vegetables introduced by the Spanish, including radishes.  Mexicans didn't seem to like the flavor of the radishes much and they weren't selling so the vendors starting carving them to decorate their market tables at special markets held before the holidays.  The idea caught on and now the state actually sponsors the growing of giant radishes and encourages participation in the event, grand prize is $3,000 pesos or about $250 USD.  Much pride goes into these works of art.

Some are elaborate displays with dozens of finely carved characters depicting various scenes from Mexican history or culture.

Detail from above

Creative use of the natural form of the radish is part of the artistry.

Religious scenes and themes are a major topic area.

As are less sacred scenes, like surfing.

And all important eating!
I took more than 200 pictures at this event, may try to post a few elsewhere, the computer is being slow today in uploading.  The event also includes figures and displays made from dried flowers and also from dried and dyed corn husks, I'll post a few of those tomorrow perhaps.  This is a super tourism event for Oaxaca as well, the square was packed with people from 3:00 in the afernoon until midnight with a line of people stretching for blocks, waiting to make the circuit to view close to 200 displays.

Oaxaca was an amazing adventure but I'm glad to be home, thanks to all of you who've been following my escapades.
Feliz Navidad- Maria


Christine B. said...

Wow, no wonder you wanted to do another post about that place! I laughed quite a bit about the "surfing" radishes. We need a similar festival up here in Alaska, maybe giant pumpkins?

Christine B.

Garden Girl said...

Pumpkins could be good, wish you could have seen all the creations, they were truly mind-blowing!

Stew said...

OK, this is awesomeness incarnate. Thanks Maria!