Dreaming of a Wierd Christmas
de los Rabanos" proclaimed the posters hung around
Oaxaca, our favorite Mexican City the day before Christmas Eve.
of the Radishes" wasn't really self-explanatory, but
the explanation, "it's when people display their radish sculptures"
didn't really clear things up.
Flowers and such carved
from vegetable are ornamental I guess, but I couldn't imagine
how many radish flowers it would take to fill up the large tables
ringing the town square.
My family had a vegetable
garden with radishes and I've even been to my share of 4-H displays
at the Kansas State Fair, but nothing had prepared me for these
radishes. I think of radishes as being the size of cherry tomatoes,
maybe even a ping pong ball, but these were as thick as a two
liter bottle of water and as tall as your cocker spaniel!
were whole nativity scenes, camels, caves and all, delicately
carved from these monstrous radishes. There were also elaborate
creations from straw and others from "eternal" (dried)
flowers, but the radishes were definitely the stars of the evening.
If you're as curious
as how a tradition developed of carving one's best radishes into
crèches, we discovered that it dates back to the big market
day when people were grocery shopping for their Christmas Eve
dinners. To advertise the quality of their produce, merchants
would create displays highlighting their best. Someone decided
to give prizes to the best displays. I guess the radishes proved
to be the superior material. And "Noche de Rabanos"
for larger version
That's how we spent
our one and only lonely Mexican Christmas (i.e.: without other
family) -- pretending we were Mexican tourists.
This year we're alone,
but we won't be lonely because we're going to "adopt"
some teenage friends whose parents had to move too far away for
them to get together. Maybe we'll discover some more interesting
traditions. We'll let you know.
12/25/2000: see photos from our Christmas with the boys - CLICK HERE]
Hope your holidays