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Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes)

a uniquely Oaxacan celebration

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Flor inmortal (dried flowers)   photo by Michele M.   See More Photos
The Noche de Rábanos celebration takes place annually on December 23 in the zócalo of the city of Oaxaca. Special large radishes are grown especially for the celebration. They are an elongated variety up to 2 feet in length and weighing as much as 10 pounds. These are carved and used to create religous or cultural figures and scenes. Many are quite intricate and ornate. Some are just whimsical. Besides the radish art, there are two other categories of folk art, flor inmortal (dried flowers) and totomoxtle (corn husks). The artisans compete in the three categories for cash prizes. Thousands come to see the crafts displays.

The radish is not native to Oaxaca. The Spanish brought them to Oaxaca in the 16th century and the Spanish monks encouraged the locals to grow them. In order to promote the new vegetable, one of the monks suggested carving radishes to create eye-catching displays in the market. Centuries later in 1897, Oaxaca Mayor, Francisco Vasconcelos Flores, held the first Noche de Rábanos in the zócalo. The event has been held every year since.

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