The Night of the Radishes is a great tradition that showcases the creativity, ingenuity, and the skill of Oaxacan gardeners who make animals, human figures, saints, and great compositions linked to Mexican traditions and beliefs such as the origins and representations of the Day of the Dead, using only the bulbs and leaves of the radish.
As an alternative activity to this party the traditional 2012 Contest of Figures of Radishes, Immortal Flower, and Totomoxtle will be held, in which gardeners, craftsmen, visual artists and the general public compete to win one of three cash prizes (between 5 to 15 thousand pesos).
Night of Radishes, December 23 in the city of Oaxaca
For a few hours, the gardeners and growers of the district of La Trinidad de las Huertas exhibit their original creations made of the radish, * immortal flower, and * totomoxtle.
* For some time, other traditional materials were combined in the making of the exhibited pieces in the Night of Radishes, like dry corn husk or totomoxtle, and the immortal flower floret that grows in the central valleys in the state of Oaxaca, which is dried naturally while preserving its color and shape.
2012 Night of Radishes
The 115th annual Night of the Radishes is held in the Zócalo or main square in the city of Oaxaca, across from the Palace of Government, from 2:00 to 9:00p.m.
2012 Contest of Figures of Radishes, Immortal Flower, and Totomoxtle in the Plaza de la Constitución (Main Square in the city of Oaxaca)
Start of the Contest: 2:00p.m. The judging of contest and the awards ceremony will be held at 9:00p.m. on the same day.
Gardeners, craftsmen, visual artists and the general public who reside in the state of Oaxaca are eligible to participate.
See photographs of the Night of the Radishes in Oaxaca
Origin of the Night of the Radishes:
The Night of the Radishes is a Oaxacan tradition whose origins date back to early colonial times when missionaries of the Benedictine order shared their knowledge of horticulture and floriculture with the indigenous Zapotecs and Mixtec, who were primarily responsible for serving in the homes of wealthy Spanish and Creoles.
In 1563, the order recommended that they be granted the land adjacent to the Hacienda de la Noria and Cinco Señores, for cultivation. Thus was born the old town of Las Naborias, nowadays, this neighborhood in the city of Oaxaca is known as Trinidad de las Huertas.
Since the sixteenth century, every December 23 a market has been set up in the Plaza de Armas of the Old Antequera (now Plaza de la Constitución, main square of Oaxaca) for Christmas dinner. The gardeners of Las Naborias have taken their products, including radishes of an extraordinary size whose whimsical shapes suggested figures of humans and animals.
In their booths, using the tubers like decoration to attract customers’ attention, as well as a sales strategy has become a tradition. (Currently, the radishes are from San Antonino Castillo Velasco and other communities in the state of Oaxaca.)