Night of Radishes (La Noche de Rábanos) is the most important Christmas party in Oaxaca. It is a festivity dedicated to the carving of oversized radishes in which gardeners and growers exhibit special designs also made with strawflowers and corn husk.
It lasts only a few hours, but this annual contest (it ocurrs on December 23) congregates everyone in town, who concur to admire the creativity of the participants. An ancient tradition of the village people was to attend “The Calendas” (local festivity) and Midnight Mass in Main Square, where traders sold salted dry fish, key ingredient in vigil meals, in addition to the green goods needed to complement the menu. Gardeners of Trinidad de las Huertas carved their vegetables into figurines, so they would catch the eye of the customers who would buy them.
It is known that on December 23, 1897, the first exhibition was organized in Plaza de Marqués or the Plaza de las Armas, today Jardín de la Constitución, where the first competition took place.
After that, it became customary to celebrate this day year after year, and it was also called “Traditional Place of Radishes”. The pieces that gardeners and growers present are inspired by Oaxacan traditions, such as festivity of Virgen de la Soledad, Day of the Dead and by Christmas motifs -such as Nativity- to create scenes that compete for prizes in various categories. Competitors also display pieces made with corn husks and dried flowers, which are created with the same themes as those with radishes.
The event has become very popular, attracting over a hundred contestants and thousands of visitors. Long queues form and in complete order, people make their slow journey around the stalls, admiring the creativity and ingenuity of the works, as it is an evening to fully enjoy. At the end of the night, the best exhibitors are rewarded as fireworks appear in the clear sky.