The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Thursday, January 24, 2008

La Noche del Rabanos - Night of the Radishes

Navidad in Oaxaca is always refreshing and happy. Yes, there is some of the commercialism that so dominates El Norte, but mostly it is a relatively quiet holiday. The giving of gifts comes on Three Kings Day on January 6. El Dia de Reyes or Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas and we will have to see what Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar have planned for us. Officially, the Christmas season lasts until February 21 when the Nativity can be put away.
Imagine radishes as big as your arm or leg … and plenty of small ones, too. They are the staring point for one of the best days of the year in Oaxaca, La Noche del Rabanos, the night of the radishes.
As hard as it may be to believe, for 110 years oaxaqueños have been competitively carving radishes and transforming them into incredible art. Actually, the Spanish brought the radish in the 1500’s and the indigenous started carving them shortly thereafter. The first formal Noche de Rabanos in the zocalo was in 1897.
The thing I have learned from previous Rabanos is to get to the zocalo early and watch the setting up and finishing touches. Those finishing touches are often the starting touches as radish art has, approximately, a one-day life before it dries out, wilts and starts to stink – literally.
This is a competition with cash prizes and radishes are not the only medium used. In separate competitions, cornhusks and dried flowers are used to create strikingly complex and beautiful tableaus.
By the time La Noche arrives there are thousands of spectators and it is impossible to get close and really see the art. Plus, during the setup, you can talk to the artists and just watch as they do their thing.
This year Rabanos was subdued, but much more festive than last year when there were police everywhere. Oaxaca has come a long way back, but is nowhere close to where it was before the mess began.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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