- Title: MEXICO: Mexicans carve figures from radishes in Oaxaca Christmas celebrations
- Date: 25th December 2009
- Summary: OAXACA CITY, OAXACA , MEXICO (DECEMBER 23, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SCULPTING FIGURE FROM A RADISH LIGHTED FIREWORKS WHICH READ "MARRY CHRISTMAS 2009" VARIOUS OF FIREWORKS PEOPLE EXAMINING STANDS DISPLAYING RADISH FIGURES VARIOUS OF RADISH FIGURES VISITORS TAKING PICTURES AND EXAMINING RADISH SCULPTURES VARIOUS OF RADISH FIGURES ARTISAN NICOLASA TERESA CORDOVA SPRAYING THE RADISH FIGURES WITH WATER (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) NICOLASA TERESA CORDOVA, SAYING: "Our grand and our great grandfathers are the ones who have been participating in these traditions. They were flower growers and has their vegetable farms in the areas of La Trinidad, Las Huertas, and La Noria, where these traditions originated, and has been lavished by so many years." VARIOUS OF RADISH SCULPTURES
- Embargoed: 9th January 2010 12:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVAEQ2C1SUNFPP6WI2A5YIO2URV5
- Story Text: For Oaxacans a radish is not seen as a simple vegetable gracing the occasional mixed salad, but food sculpted into complex figures that compete for prizes during a unique festival held in Oaxaca City during the Christmas season.
Some 100 agriculture workers and florists took part in a competition that surprised its visitors with spectacular creations in Oaxaca City's main square, where the annual festival "Radish Night," which combines traditional folk art and agriculture, took place.
For a few hours only, spectators were able to admire great, detailed and complex efforts where radishes were transformed into entire nativity scenes, dancers, the countryside, women, and a never-ending list of figures that show off the talent and originality of Mexican artesans.
Popular Mexican cuisine dishes from the state of Oaxaca were also sold during the festival such as tlayudas, a large crunchy tortilla with beans, lettuce, tomatoes cheese, salsa and meat.
"Our grand and our great grandfathers are the ones who have been participating in these traditions. They were flower growers and has their vegetable farms in the areas of La Trinidad, Las Huertas, and La Noria, where these traditions originated, and has been lavished by so many years," said Nicolasa Teresa Cordova, one of the radish artisans.
The event is also attended by foreign tourists
"I think I have seen radishes before, but not like this or to this extent, with different shapes. Only in Oaxaca!" said Michael, a British tourist in attendance.
The figures are decorated and made by dozens of agriculture industry workers, who are not allowed to use ink to paint figures or metal articles to hold up the figures. They keep it simple using only wooden sticks and a Christmas plant known as "pasle," which grows in Oaxacan forests at Christmas time.
Each category is judged with first, second and third places and economic prizes range from $3,500 pesos to $13,000 pesos are offered. Children who participated received bicycles.
The Spanish first brought radishes to Mexico in the 16th century and historians mention garden contests during Colonial times. Legend has it that two Spanish friars encouraged local indigenous workers to grow and carve vegetable figures to boost sales.
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