Sunday, October 21, 2007
1998 Oaxaca, Mexico
Noche De Rabanos, the night of the radishes is two days before Christmas. It is a celebration involving huge, radishes carved to represent various religious symbols. In the photo here is one of Jesus with skulls below it. The Zocolo (town square) has a line wrapped around it in three circles. It takes three hours to get to where you can pass the radish carvings, but it is an event worth the wait and the experience of all the local people. At about 11pm we were rained down upon by fireworks (see small photo). OSHA would have had a heart attack! The other small photo depicts pinwheel fireworks common in Mexico, that spews out hot sparks towards the onlookers. It was part of the parade on Christmas eve where all the local churches came with children dressed as angels, Mary on a donkey and Joseph; escorted by people with firecrackers, and paper lanterns.
Oaxaca is a colonial town with cobblestone streets and beautiful facades. We spent a week going to the outlying villages which alternated their market days to not compete with one another. Each village was represented by a different ethnic minority, each with distinctive dress and specialised craft: weaving, pottery, painting. On New Year's Eve we marked the coming new year with the hotel clerk we had befriended, Gabby (Gabriela) with whom I still have email contact. She told us the tradition was to eat a grape for every tone of the church bell at midnight and make twelve wishes for the coming year. And she said, "I have the grapes right here!"