La Noche de los Rábanos, or Night of the Radishes, is an annual tradition in Oaxaca, Mexico. It began over a century ago when merchants carved festive radishes and sold them in the zócolo (town square) during the Christmas season.
Photo: By AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The celebration continues to this day, taking place every December 23 when the town gathers in the zócolo to view the intricately carved radishes. Popular radish carvings and sculptures represent animals, saints, dancers, cathedrals, and more. The creations can only be displayed for a few hours before the radishes begin to wilt, which can create long lines at the event.
The winner of the best carved radish wins pesos (cash). Fireworks, parades, craft booths, and carts selling buñuelos (fried pastries coated with syrup) and esquites (grilled Mexican street corn mixed with a spicy mixture) are also a part of the festival.
Take a peek at some of the festive radish carvings from La Noche de los Rábanos, 2017:
Interesting Facts About La Noche de los Rábanos
- The city dedicates land to growing radishes used for the event.
- The radishes can be up to two feet long and weigh up to 10 pounds.
- Other creations made from corn husks and dried flowers are also included in the displays and competitions.
- The Spanish brought radishes to Mexico in the 16th century. They grow in thick, long, contorted shapes and are not meant to be eaten.