Radish benefits
the night of radish festival

Night of the Radishes: Facts

Every year on December 23, the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, celebrate the Night of the Radishes. The festival dates back to the 16th century, when Spanish missionaries brought radishes to the region. Since then, radishes have been an important part of Oaxacan culture.

The "night of radishes" festival
The “Night of radishes” festival

On the night of the festival, vendors set up stalls in the city’s main square and compete to see who can create the most intricate carving. The radishes are carved into all sorts of shapes, including animals, flowers, and people. The festival is a colorful and festive event that attracts tourists from all over the world.

The Night of the Radishes is an annual event held in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. During the festival, local artisans display intricate dried flower ornaments. The tradition began over a century ago, when farmers began carving radishes into elaborate shapes to sell at the city’s Christmas market. Today, the Night of the Radishes is one of Oaxaca’s most popular tourist attractions. Artisans spend months preparing for the event, and their stunning creations are sure to impress any visitor. If you’re ever in Mexico during the holiday season, be sure to check out the Night of the Radishes.

A night of radishes in Oaxaca, Mexico

Night of the radishes (Mexico)
Night of the radishes (Mexico)

On December 23, locals and tourists annually attend the Night of the Radishes celebration in Oaxaca’s main square. Sculptors compete for the night’s top prize by making works of art out of purple fruit or vegetable. At first, the competition was an effort by merchants at the Christmas market to boost vegetable sales through sculpture. Seeing how well accepted it was, Governor Francisco Vasconcelos in 1897 made it into a legitimate contest. The city of Oaxaca now celebrates this event every year.

Radish Festival Origin

The history of the Night of the Radishes is a long and fascinating one. The tradition began in the 16th century when Spanish missionaries arrived in Mexico and brought radishes with them. The radishes quickly became a staple crop in the region for both home gardeners and commercial growers. This is because radishes are highly nutritious, versatile, and easy to grow. Radishes are an excellent source of vitamins C and A, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. They can be eaten raw or cooked, making them a versatile addition to any meal. Radishes are also very hardy and can withstand cold weather with ease. This makes them a good choice for growers in colder climates. Finally, radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They require little care and can be harvested in just a few weeks. For all of these reasons, it is no wonder that radishes are so popular here in Mexico.

Why radishes?

Radishes are a very affordable vegetable. They were often grown in home gardens and sold at local markets, making them a popular choice for people on a budget. In those days, radish carvings were simple and crude. But over time, the craftsmanship has become more and more intricate. Today, radish carvings are works of art. The festival is a celebration of both Oaxacan culture and Mexican folklore.

During the festival, vendors set up stalls in the city’s main square and compete to see who can create the most beautiful carving. The radishes are carved into all sorts of shapes, including animals, flowers, and people. The competition is fierce, but it’s also a lot of fun. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks display.

If you’re looking for a unique and festive way to celebrate Christmas, look no further than Oaxaca, Mexico. Every year on December 23rd, the people of Oaxaca celebrate the Night of the Radishes. This centuries-old tradition is a must-see event for any traveler looking to experience authentic Mexican culture.

What exactly is “A Night of Radishes”?

Every year on Christmas Eve, the city of Oaxaca in Mexico holds a unique festival called La Noche de Rábanos, or the Night of the Radishes. The event dates back to the early 1900s, when local farmers would compete to see who could grow the biggest and most elaborate radish carving. Today, the festival attracts both amateur and professional carvers from all over Mexico, and consists of a radish carving contest as well as a radish display.
There are certain rules for those who decide to compete. Contestants have just two hours to carve their radishes into any shape they desire, and the results are always impressive. From detailed nativities to life-size replicas of animals and buildings, the carved radishes are truly works of art. After the contest, the radishes are put on display for everyone to enjoy. If you find yourself in Mexico during Christmastime, be sure to check out this unique and festive event.

The Spanish introduction of radishes during the colonial era is considered the event’s origin. Farmers in Oaxaca, a city with a rich history of woodcarving, started making wooden figurines out of radishes to sell at the Christmas market on December 23. To attract more people to the Christmas market, the producers devised the ingenious idea of using radishes carved into regional themes as ornaments. Over a century ago, in 1897, the townsfolk began officially competing in this celebratory event.

What do people do during the event?

Preparation times on December 23 start early in the afternoon. Long tables line the perimeter of the zocalo, and a three-meter high viewing platform stands just beyond them. Miniature reenactments of Oaxaca and Mexican history are presented through corn husk dolls, vases of flowers that were dried, and radishes. The short tears of La Llorona are etched along with respect for others’ rights on radish. This indicates that respect for the rights of others is peace. A blaze of red vegetables representing the Virgins of Guadalupe, Juquila, and La Soledad greets all who visit these shrines.

Night of the radishes Christmas tradition in Mexico
Night of the radishes Christmas tradition in Mexico

The radishes are carved into a wide variety of subjects. This includes babies, different types of animals, renowned musicians, and entire scenes from significant Oaxacan celebrations like the Guelaguetza and the famous Day of the Dead event. The radishes are left to grow in a restricted region to provide food for competition and are not meant for human consumption. The competition has evolved in that they have included a kid’s category to interest the younger community members. The children can choose among the radishes in the wide field located a short distance from the city the day before. Adults and children will use toothpicks to keep radishes in place and spray a little water, so the radishes look their best and don’t wilt.

Bigger radishes to impress and entertain

The red long radishes are mostly used at “noche de rabanos”, these are typically elongated and slightly curved in shape, with a deep red skin and white flesh. They have a sharp, spicy flavor that goes really well in Mexican cuisine.  Other different types of radishes are also used, but some of the most popular ones include the red globe radish, the white daikon radish, and the black Spanish radish. All of these types can be found at Noche de Rabanos.

Bigger than usual, up to 3 kilograms of radishes are picked in the festival’s final week. People look forward to seeing the yearly designs created by the artists. Sculptures can be categorized into two distinct categories: “free” designs and more traditional forms. Christmas scenes, religious settings, and Oaxacan-themed designs are some examples of the more conventional patterns. In addition to random objects or even humans or animals, free designs are also available. Flower and corn husk plant sculptures are also public.

Different kind of competitions take place

Totomoxtle Natural (dolls made from corn husks) and Flor Immortal (made from dried flowers) are two other categories in the competition where participants create elaborate scenarios. Of course, one thousand two hundred pesos and the right to brag for a whole year go to the winner. They may not be as well-known as radishes, but their aesthetic value is comparable to popular vegetables. The queue to see them has grown so long that it extends around the block, but the wait will be worth it.

Dried flower ornaments in Mexican festival
Dried flower ornaments in Mexican festival

The dried flower ornaments are typically made from brightly colored flowers such as marigolds, roses, and carnations. They can be made into a variety of shapes and designs. There are many different ornaments that people make for festival. Locals have been making dried flower figures for centuries as a way to celebrate religious holidays and to honor loved ones who have passed away. The brightly-colored flowers are used to create intricate designs that are both beautiful and unique.

The tradition of making dried flower figures is a very important part of Mexican culture, and the artistry and skill involved in creating these figures is highly respected. Each figure is made with great care and precision, and often takes many hours to complete.

The finished product is a stunning work of art that brings joy to those who see it. And, when the flowers begin to fade, it serves as a reminder that even though life is transient, the memories of our loved ones will always be within us.

Another common type of dried flower ornament is the “tarima.” Tarimas are made by pressing flowers into a wooden board, then coating them with wax or resin. The finished product is then hung from a string or rope.

Both foladas and tarimas are typically used to decorate churches and other public buildings during holiday festivals.

Your eyes will not believe what you see as you wander the area, admiring the villagers’ ingenuity and artistic flair in creating spectacular displays. The evening has been established as a family tradition, and it is not uncommon to see a couple of generations present for the festivities.

This festival is truly unlike anything you’ll ever see

The festival attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to admire the intricate carvings. The radishes are grown specially for the festival and are carved using a variety of techniques. Some of the carvings are so detailed that they resemble works of art. The festival is a great opportunity to see traditional Mexican craftsmanship at its best.

The annual radish carving festival in Oaxaca is a sight to behold. Local artisans spend hours painstakingly crafting stunning sculptures out of large red radishes. The results are truly amazing, here are just a few pearls amongst hundreds of exhibits to discover:

Live music will play as you stroll through the rows of radish artwork, and when you finish, there will be fireworks to finish off the evening festivities. Christmas markets with tasty treats and lots of galleries and stores adorned with lights are all within walking distance.

Oaxaca is a beautiful destination for those looking to get away for the holidays. In addition, there are many other activities to partake in. The average temperature in December is about 20 degrees Celsius, and the sky is clear and bright most of the time. Travelers from colder regions will find it to be an ideal getaway.

Radish Ben

Hi. My name is Ben and I like to talk about radish. I also grow them and cook them. I like to try different species and experiment with various recipes. Right now my favorite is black radish, but I also recommend you to check out the watermelon radish which should be much more popular in my opinion. Stick around, and you'll discover that radishes aren't just your average summer salad addition!

Add comment

Follow us

We're always excited to meet new people and learn about their interesting stories. You can get in touch with us on Facebook or Instagram for more information!

Most discussed