Full disclosure: this will probably be more rábanos than revelry, but who doesn't love carved root vegetables, right?
I am enjoying a low-key Christmastime this year, so we'll just meander through the season up to Epiphany and I will add whatever I find in my perambulations around town. Let's start in my patio ~
This past weekend, taken on my visit to the organic market. Being from Louisiana, I never fail to marvel at Spanish moss being used as something special for Christmas decorations ~
Yesterday I went down to the zócalo to meet Charlie. Both of us had forgotten that it was the afternoon of the Night of the Radishes. The artists were setting up their creations in the middle of the square, but no one was to be allowed up on the viewing walkway until nighttime. Fine with us. We sat there drinking coffee and watching the crowds, then leisurely checked out three sides of the exhibition. The part directly in front of our café was the section for totomoxtle -- corn (maize) husks ~
This is absolutely spectacular! I can never get over the detail and creativity of the artisans. I love how some of the scenes are muted colors and others are bright with boldly colored dresses. Who would have thought you could carve and create so many characters from radishes! Excited to see more!
This is amazing of course but the thing that I find so impressive is that it is so different from all of the other celebrations that you have shown in Oaxaca. These people never run out of ideas, do they?
Fumobici, you have pretty well summed up the tenor of life here!
Kerouac, I actually showed this event five years ago, when I swore "never again!" It was dumb luck that I wound up downtown yesterday & got to see the workup during daylight. And yes, the ideas just keep on coming. This one was posted on facebook tonight. I include the caption so everyone will now know how to say "the dark side" in Spanish ~
El artista Luis Kuchan participante de la noche de rabanos 2015 nos comparte esta pieza digna del lado obscuro.
Well, it's officially Christmas day right now. I got home from a lovely Christmas eve dinner with a bunch of great people just before midnight. All of the pictures of our kind hosts came out blurred, but I think you can tell from these pictures that we guests really enjoyed ourselves. By my count, there were people from four different countries there and of course several US and Mexican states were represented ~
The front of this church is ornamented with Oaxaca tin work. I passed it later in the evening (w/out my camera) & it was nicely lit up with green lights ~
Nature cooperated nicely to give some extra drama to the manger scene on the altar ~
I hope this picture gives some idea of today's weather, which switched from glum and gray to glary bright. It was quite hot, too ~
There are now some Huichol artisans in Oaxaca, although this is not their part of the country. You all may be familiar with their bead art, which is mostly associated with mescaline visions. Here is a different kind of religious vision ~
I posted some pictures a couple of months ago of the "fox tail" effect of the emerging flower stalks of these agave, but can't remember where. Anyway, for those of you who remember the babies, look how tall they've gotten ~
The zócalo was full of people enjoying the day. Here are two portraitists, both with lots of onlookers ~
A pitiful excuse for a Bethlehem scene. You have to wonder what happened to all the creche, etc. figures from previous administrations ~
Getting ready to enter the folk craft pavilion on my way to lunch. This picture was taken an hour at most after the leaden one of the mesquite. Look how pretty the sky is, with even a dramatic abstract Christmas angel ~
I surreptitiously snapped this picture on my way through the pavilion. She is a Mixtec woman from the Costa Chica of Oaxaca. They traditionally do not cover the top part of their bodies on their home turf, but will wear pinafores as you see here when they come into the city. The pinafores will be of the type that don't slip over the head, as they put nothing over their heads until they are dressed in a huipil for their laying out. The skirt is the traditional wrap-around from that area, dyed with sea snails.
And that wraps up Christmas Day, although the season here runs to Epiphany, January 6, so I'll keep my eyes open for more seasonal stuff to add to this thread.
I do so love the tin ornaments every time you post them. The beaded pieces are so intricate and adorable! I will have some big bills waiting for me when I return home if I come to visit there someday Bixa!
You can always get a bunch of stuff to sell on ebay to defray your expenses, Mich. If you love the tin work, I think you'll completely flip out over the jewelry.
I believe off to the side is norm everywhere, Kerouac. That church is just radical.
The next group of pictures were taken starting around 10:30 Christmas night, when I headed out to hear a blues band play. I met the singer at the Christmas Eve dinner, when I heard him raving about their drummer, whom I've known for a couple of years, but hadn't heard him play. The raves were deserved!
This is a classic shot of the Oaxaca Christmas season. The shards are from unglazed clay bowls which are used to serve buñuelos -- large fried wheat disks covered with syrup. The tradition is to smash the bowl after eating ~
This is in front of Sto. Domingo church, on Alcalá, the pedestrian street. "Cangrejo" means crab ~
Yet another grub wagon being rolled out. This one smelled wonderful ~
SO glad I came to hear these guys play -- driving, rocking, fabulous blues!
Walking home around 1:30 in the morning. All is calm, all is bright ~
Unlocking my gate, I snap a picture of a neighbor's Christmas spirit ~
Just a couple of things from yesterday, including what you all will ride in when you come to the pissup ~
Aw, thank you, Htmb! I feel like you all might be as familiar and possibly bored with my stomping grounds as I can be.
I forgot I had this first set on my camera. They were taken the evening of the 27th while I was walking the dogs. This is the pavilion shown in the last photo of the previous post, but seen from the opposite end ~
That is not embroidery on those two blouses in the foreground, but beadwork ~
This is for Mich ~
And these are for everyone!
These pictures were take around 11:30 this morning, December 31, in my own front yard ~
It has been remarkably quiet today. Every once in a while, I'll hear a firecracker and think, "oh boy -- they're starting", but no. The mystery is solved: Oaxaca police seize 7 tonnes of fireworks <-- click for full story
To celebrate the peace while it lasts, here is my last photo of 2015, taken this evening just before twilight. It's the real thing of minimalist holiday decorating ~
Firecrackers and other fireworks have been banned in France for obvious reasons. They've been banned in Paris for many years already, but this is the very first year that I did not hear a single firecracker in the street. I expect there will be a special dispensation at Chinese New Year, though. Or at least the authorities will look the other way.
I really like that last photo of the year -- it is suitably melancholic.
It definitely looks like a place where they never run out of ideas, but there must be some element of repetition. Is it the food? Perhaps a special dish for a specific occasion? But I do get the idea there is always a huge amount of food for sale.
What do they do with all the leftover carved radishes? Are they cooked or eaten raw?
Bjd, there is definitely repetition. Night of the Radishes has been going on for 116 years, but I appreciate the creations of the young people who draw on popular culture and their great weird imagination to vary the usual depictions of pueblo fests and the Virgin of Guadalupe. In general, you can count on certain items appearing festival after festival. Since Oaxaca is a state known for folk craft, there will be areas given over to pavilions of craft vendors at every festival. Foodwise, those big fritters are only for Christmas time, but food stands will appear wherever there will be crowds of people. In fact, ambulatory vendors will enter large private parties in order to sell cotton candy or other snacks. An odd fact all over Mexico is the clumping together of similar businesses. For instance, a street will have two, three, or even more stationers on the same block. In the same way, there can be ten food stands all selling exactly the same things standing cheek by jowl with each other during festivals.
Last night I saw on the news that a huge tent-covered area opens this morning in front of the Mercado de Abastos for Three Kings day purchases. I just took a look at my Xmas report of 2014 and was reminded of how hugely charming the traditional Christmas/Three Kings market is. I'm going to go down to check out the tent area, with the hope it hasn't over-modernized the traditional offerings.
To answer your question about the fate of the fancy radishes ~ who knows? You don't see those monsters -- which are probably quite woody -- routinely offered as produce for people, anyway, so the much-handled and tortured versions are even less appealing as food. I assume the municipality just gathers everything up to throw away. The radishes would probably be appreciated by livestock, but they all seem to be dangerously full of toothpicks.
One of my sisters wrote me this, re: inspiration for radish carving ~ I think I finally figured out about those odd shaped radishes--they are like the sculptor's stone. You must see what's already there and then release it.
Now that you mention it, Bjd, I remember that the Grand Bazaar had entire sections devoted to particular products. "Find your inner radish."
Kerouac, what happened to that barefoot boy with cheek of tan of your Mississippi boyhood? Did you not tempt the mule to keep plowing those forty acres with a carrot on the end of a stick? Big radishes are very similar to carrots, & surely Mexican livestock like their food picante.
I did not know that about Trahan's market, LaGatta. Do you suppose they had a parking garage for their horses and mules? Probably the section for the gentry served carrots and radishes to the animals.
Okay, onward with my visit to the Abastos Market today. It turned out that the giant pavilion took up the whole street in front of the second class bus station, making the always horrible traffic around the market absolute hell. Go, Oaxaca! I got off the bus a couple of blocks from the market, and passed this house offering piñatas -- the usual stuff plus two real works of art ~
The news report yesterday said that the pavilion was being set up last night so that it could open at 7 this morning. I got there noonish and it was hardly a beehive, in fact was half empty. Looks unpromising, but let's go see ~
Oooo ~ perhaps there will be things here to entertain me, after all!