Monday, December 23, 2013

Radishes Sculpted

Tonight, December 23rd, in Oaxaca, Mexicofolks will be celebrating the Noche de Rábanos, the Night of the Radishes, and the zócalo (public square) will become the scene of a huge exhibition of figures carved from radishes. These are not the familiar little round vegetables that are eaten in salads — these are heavy, long, contorted roots that grow up to two feet in length and can weigh as much as 10 pounds. For three days, artists will have been transforming their freshly dug radishes into religious tableaux and village scenes, historical events and mythical tales. There will be animals and saints and conquistadors, the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus, and even the revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata.

The origin of this festival is unknown, although historians have noted that vendors in the Christmas Eve markets in Oaxaca would decorate their stands with radish figures embellished with other vegetables and that housewives would seek out the most interesting to buy for their Christmas tables. In 1897, the mayor of Oaxaca inaugurated the first official Night of the Radishes, and it has since become a unique and important part of Christmas in that city. (from Writers Almanac 12/23/2013)

My hat is off to the artistic creations prepared for Noche de Rabanos in Oaxaca, Mexico. What skill is practiced in carving large radishes.

It looks like the artisans start young to perfect their crafts. Note the lush hedge of Poinsettia in background, they are profuse in Mexico.

Perhaps the piece de resistance, The Virgin Mary lovingly made from radishes, 2013. 

Feliz navidad!


  1. Facinating and festive! I have never heard of this radish festival. I am amazed at that last carving. Wow!
    Merry Christmas,

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