MEXICO CITY – Artisans in southern Mexico use radishes to create elaborately sculpted figures on the traditional Night of the Radishes, celebrated for the past 120 years in the city of Oaxaca.
The Night of the Radishes takes place on Dec. 23, although the figures created by the craftsmen can be seen through Sunday.
This year, local farming families harvested some 14 tons of two kinds of radishes: the “Champion” and “Bartender” varieties.
This peculiar custom dates back to 1897, when a contest was established in which vegetable and flower growers could promote and offer their products to the public.
To make them more attractive to consumers, the radish sellers create elaborate figures out of their radishes and other vegetables, and many of them have – with practice – become true and quite talented sculptors.
They use the different shapes taken on by the radishes as they grow to prepare creative figures and scenes such as Christmas manger scenes, famous people and assorted other imaginative statuettes.
About 100 artisans are participating in this year’s event, and there is also a contest held to select the best creation or collection of pieces.