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Posts Tagged ‘Night of the Radishes’

I hope you will permit me just one more Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) post.  The Totomoxtle Decorado category wouldn’t be complete without showing this year’s entry, “Los huehuentones de Huautla de Jiménez” by Moisés Ruíz Sosa, last year’s first prize winner, who just happens to be the brother of this year’s winner, Marco Antonio Ruíz Sosa.

Much of the work by Moisés, at least that I have seen, uses natural and dyed corn husks to recreate traditional dance scenes.  This year’s inspiration came from the Mazateco Day of the Dead celebrations.

After the souls are released, their spirits are transformed into different forms personified by the Huehuentones (people of the navel — born from the center of the earth) who serve as a link between the departed and the living.

Beginning October 27, they roam the streets and visit families, house by house, to play and sing Mazatec themes of family, famine, traditions, customs, current events, politics, etc.

What captivates me most is the attention to detail and reverence for traditions by Moisés.

Learning their craft from their mother, Moisés and Marco are a couple of very talented brothers!

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I always prefer to go down to Oaxaca’s zócalo in the morning of December 23rd to watch the Noche de Rábanos artisans bring their creations into being — and before the masses descend.  At this year’s 120th annual Rábanos the crowds had already begun to gather behind the barriers by 10:30 AM.  Of course, the downside to going early is that some of the artisans are further along in their work than others.

Alas, in the category of Rábanos Tradicional (radishes representing traditional subject matter), the eventual first prize winner had only just begun…

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“Nacimiento Tradicional” by Hermenegildo Contreras Cruz

However, when I passed by, the eventual first prize winner in the category of Rábanos Libre (radishes free subject matter) was almost finished and the dragon was about to be slayed.

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“Corazón de Dragón” by Salvador Yrizar Díaz

In the Flor Inmortal (dried flower) category…  How could I have missed 2/3rds of the entries?!!  However, I did manage to capture the 2nd prize winner.

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“Una tarde en el Templo de Santo Domingo” by Rosalía Santiago Cornelio

Then there was the Totomoxtle (corn husks)…  Second place in the Totomoxtle Natural (natural husk color) category went to this delightful depiction of Oaxaca’s version of a county fair that even included a House of Horror and a Tilt-A-Whirl.

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“Feria Popular” by Jorge Ramos Gallegos

First place in the category of Totomoxtle Natural was awarded to…

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“Buscando la paz hastati. Virgencita de Juquila” by José Méndez Miranda

And, what can I say about “Nahualli” by Marco Antonio Ruíz Sosa, the winner of the Totomoxtle Decorado (dyed corn husks)?

Do you think Lewis Carroll was channeling shadow souls when he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?  Kenneth Grahame when he wrote The Wind in the Willows?  Was C. S. Lewis guided by a nahualli when he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?  And, what about Beatrix Potter???

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I think I spied some familiar figures in the radishes at this year’s Noche de Rabanos.  Could this be carver, Zeny Fuentes?

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“Alebrijes de San Martín Tilcajete” by Sergio Luís Raymundo Sánchez

Oaxaqueños can tell you, this is their own, Señor del Rayo.

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“Señor del Rayo” by Gabriela Nayelly López Vásquez

And then there is this guy.  I’m guessing Maestro Francisco Toledo.

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“Oaxaca de mis amores” by Omar Díaz Ventura

What do you think?

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The 120th edition of the “only in Oaxaca” Noche de Rábanos is coming.  Tomorrow (December 23) the zócalo will be filled with radishes carved into religious, cultural, and fantastical creations.

Scenes from last year…

And, it’s not just a night of radishes, there will also be flor inmortal (a type of dried flower) and totomoxtle (corn husk) artisan creations on display and competing for prizes.  Not to be missed!

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Of the rábanos from Noche de Rábanos, this radish sculpture of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor of Tenochtitlan, was my favorite.

Cuauhtémoc portrayed in radishes

“Cuauhtémoc: El Último Gran Emperador Azteca” by José Yehú Santos Aguilar took second place in the Free Radish category.

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As I previously explained, Noche de Rabanos isn’t just about radishes.  One of the other categories of entries is Totomoxtle Decorado.  And the winner was Moisés Ruíz Sosa, with his dyed cornhusk depiction of Día de Muertos on the Costa Chica of Oaxaca.

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Descendants of slaves, the Afromexicano population of Oaxaca is located in 16 municipalities, with 11 of these municipalities located in the Costa Chica, Oaxaca’s far western coastal region, bordering the state of Guerrero.

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During Day of the Dead, the Danza de los Diablos (Dance of the Devils) is performed in these communities.

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Dancers wear devil masks, and are led by a colonial ranch foreman with a whip, who “struts around, while his buxom ‘white’ wife – played by a black man – flirts outrageously with the ‘devils’ and even the audience.”  [The black people ‘erased from history’]

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To see the Noche de Rabanos 2013 entry by Moisés Ruíz Sosa, click HERE.

By the way, the “Elaborando Artesanía, Plasmando Sueños: ‘Teotitlán del Valle, Tierra de Dioses’” by Raymundo Sánchez Monserrat Maricela, which I wrote about in Noche de Rabanos, pt. 1, took first prize in the Flor Inmortal Adulto category!

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It’s December 23 in Oaxaca and Noche de Rabanos is upon us.  The setting-up has begun and the spectators are gathering.  Despite its name, it isn’t just about artisans working their creative magic carving radishes.  There are three other categories, including the use of Flor Inmortal (a type of dried flower).  I will return this evening, but in the meantime, this entry titled, “Elaborando Artesanía, Plasmando Sueños: ‘Teotitlán del Valle, Tierra de Dioses'” by Raymundo Sánchez Monserrat Maricela, is for all my friends in Teotitlán del Valle.

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Spinning the wool.

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Weaving tapetes from the spun wool.

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Grinding corn or maybe chocolate OR maybe even cochinilla!

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Dancing the Danza de la Pluma…

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The danzantes of the Grupo de Danza de Pluma Promesa keeping their promise.

I think Raymundo did a wonderful job capturing the people of Teotitlán del Valle, the Land of the Gods, who make crafts and shape dreams.

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The “only in Oaxaca” Noche de Rábanos is coming!  If you are in Oaxaca, the zócalo is the place to be on December 23 to watch radishes being carved into familiar and fantastical creations.  Among the former, dancers from Oaxaca’s eight regions are a favorite.

Danza de la Pluma dancer in Rábanos Tradicional category 2012

Danza de la Pluma dancer in Rábanos Tradicional category 2012

Baile del Guajolote dancer in Rábanos Libre category 2013

Baile del Guajolote dancer in Rábanos Libre category 2013

Despite of the name, it isn’t just about carved radishes.  The artists of Oaxaca work their creative magic in several other categories, including dried flowers…

Chinas Oaxaqueñas in Flor Inmortal category 2012

Chinas Oaxaqueñas in Flor Inmortal category 2012

… and corn husks.

Chinas Oaxaqueñas entry in Totomoxtle Natural category 2012

Chinas Oaxaqueñas entry in Totomoxtle Natural category 2012

Jarabe Mixteco dancer in Totomoxtle Decorado category 2012

Jarabe Mixteco dancer in Totomoxtle Decorado category 2012

Danza de los Huenches Viejos de Yalalag in Totomoxtle Decorado category 2012

Danza de los Huenches Viejos de Yalalag in Totomoxtle Decorado category 2012

I wish I could be in two places at one time, so I could experience this year’s Night of the Radishes.  If you are lucky enough to be there, enjoy and take lots of photos!

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Noche de Rabanos is moving!

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According to an article in yesterday’s Noticias, the continued occupation of the zócalo by the teachers and the ambulantes has forced this year’s 117th annual festival to relocate.  Ahhh… only in Oaxaca!

On December 23, the 130 participants and their carved radishes, totomoxtle figures, and flor inmortal scenes will be found on the Andador Turístico (aka,Macedonio Alcalá).

Hotels are expecting an 85% occupancy rate, but the business owners along the Alcalá are concerned the Rabanos crowds will block entrances to their shops.  However, I’m wondering if it might improve the viewing traffic flow.  If you are in Oaxaca, please let me know — I headed north to the rain and snow of el norte to spend the holidays with mi familia.

Photos from last year’s Noche de Rabanos.

Update (as of Dec. 21):  Ambulantes, though not teachers, have cleared out and Rabanos WILL be held on the zócalo. 

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Despite of the name, Noche de Rábanos isn’t just about carving radishes.  The creativity and ingenuity of the gardeners and artisans of Oaxaca in several other categories are also on display — Flor Inmortal (dried flowers), Totomoxtle (dried corn husks) Natural, and Totomoxtle Decorated, as well as two Children’s categories.

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First place in the Totomoxtle Natural category went to Elpidio Adrián González López and his amazing creation, Mercado Antiguo en la Plaza de las Armas 1885.

If you missed it December 23 on the zócalo, or want to see it up close and personal, head over to CaféCafé, on the corner of Porfirio Díaz and M. Bravo.

It will be on display until January 6, 2014.

h/t Jane & Ken

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Watching the watcher…

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This morning at Noche de Rábanos.

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This morning I walked down to the zócalo to watch artists at work — it’s Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes).   This December 23 “only in Oaxaca” tradition has been a mainstay of the holiday season since 1897.  I know, who would have thought radishes could elicit such creativity?  But, they definitely do!  Here is Adrián Antonio Flores Peña working on his piece, Quebrantahueso (bearded vulture).

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More to come… I just have to weed through the 300+ other photos I took!

UPDATE:  Adrián Antonio Flores Peña won first place in the “Free” (as opposed to “Traditional”) category.

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The rabanos, danzantes, and I wish a happy holidays to all…

Photos from Noche de Rabanos.   And, my rapidly becoming a Christmas Eve blog tradition…

Pancho Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through la casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! ¿Que pasa?

Los ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
While Mama worked late in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos y malos,
A Nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard, there arouse such a grito,
That I jumped to my feet, like a frightened cabrito.

I went to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world, do you think que era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre.

¡Ay, Pancho! ¡Ay, Pepe! ¡Ay, Cuca! ¡Ay, Beto!
¡Ay, Chato! ¡¡Ay, Chopo! ¡Maruca and ¡Nieto!

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the children had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud and seeming contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is VERDAD,
Merry Christmas to all, And to All ¡Feliz Navidad!

Ernie Villarreal’s version of the song, Pancho Claus, by Chicano music legend, Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero.

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