Sánchez Mateos and her radish. Sánchez Mateos and her radish.

14 tonnes of radishes harvested for festival

The Night of the Radishes takes place Saturday in Oaxaca

It’s time for radishes in Oaxaca.

This year marks the 120th edition of the traditional Noche de Rábanos, or Night of the Radishes, when growers from the central valleys of Oaxaca gather in the capital city and display not just carved radishes but weird specimens of the tuber that can be up to 50 centimeters long and weigh up to three kilograms.

This year, a farmer from San Antonino Castillo Velasco showed reporters from the newspaper Milenio a radish that resembled a hand.

“I present you this hand, it came out complete, five fingers and all. How great is God under the earth, designing everything for us. [The radishes] are joined together. Why? Because he wants us to be together, the times are going to be difficult but we’ll be together,” said Francisca Lidia Sánchez Mateos.

She was speaking on the day of the harvest, when 14 tonnes of radishes were collected from a municipal parcel of land in the El Tequio park.

“Thanks to the government of Oaxaca that grants us this parcel of land, we’ve got something to eat every day and we keep the craft alive,” Sánchez said.

Those crafts are folk art creations that will be on display for one night only. On Saturday, 143 radish producers — including 82 children — will set up their skillfully carved radish figures at more than 100 stands installed around the Oaxaca city zócalo.

Also on display will be creations made with totomoxtle, or dried corn husks, and with flor inmortal, or immortal flower, a local flower that dries quickly and keeps most of its characteristic deep violet color. Thirteen people signed up for the first category, while 12 will be participating with immortal flower creations.

Visitors can see entire scenes created with radishes, flowers and totomoxtle starting in the late afternoon. The whole event concludes with the awarding of the best displays in the early evening.

The popularity of the event and the fame of the farmers’ creations will draw a large number of Oaxaca citizens and visitors to the city’s main square.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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