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Traditions: The Night of the Radishes

photo by Alejandro Linares Garcia
"Dulce Regional Oaxaqueño" by Carlos Laurencio Vazquez Sebastian, 2014 Noche de Rabanos

Twas Christmas Eve Eve

And all through Oaxaca

The creatures were stirring

They were raising the baca!

The tools were all sharp

And the harvest was done

For there was a challenge

Soon to be won.

The children sat round

And clutched at their knives

The men were all boastful

And clutched at their wives.

It is a sight to behold

Before it vanishes

Because on this day in Oaxaca


The prep and the cutting

The peels on the floor

Soon fashioned are people

And animals and more

Out of nothing but veggies

These works are created

Mainly from radish but

Also corn it is stated.

So what will you make

When you come to this fest?

It really doesn't matter -


It's not often I come across a tidbit of traditions that 1) I'd never heard of before and 2) makes me so giddy in its awesomeness. But it's true! It even drove me to write poetry. Since 1897, December 23rd has been heralded as the Night of the Radishes in Oaxaca, Mexico. Legend tells us that in the mid-1800s there was a particularly abundant radish crop, and one section was forgotten in the garden of a monastery. Months later when two friars pulled them up, they were amused by the silly shapes that the radishes had grown into.

Mayor Francisco Vasconcelos declared a formal radish-carving competition in 1897, which has been held annually.

Does it have anything do to with any winter holiday? NOPE. Is this my new favorite thing? YUP. Do I now want to head to Oaxaca for Christmas next year? OBVIOUSLY.

Wanna join me? Contact your travel designer for next year's December travels!

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