Each year on December 23rd, Oaxaca celebrates Noche de Rabanos, or Night of the Radishes, a 117-year-old festival where artists, amateurs, and children carve intricate sculptures out of the red root. This year more than 100 participants used 12 tons of specially-harvested, oversized radishes to craft what they hoped would be the winning sculptures in the annual competition.

The origins of radish sculptures have been traced to the 16th century, when Spanish missionaries introduced the vegetable to indigenous Oaxacans who already had a tradition of carving figurines out of wood. Later, merchants began crafting radish sculptures to attract customers to Oaxaca’s zocalo around Christmas time. In 1897, Oaxca’s mayor made the tradition an official festival, declaring December 23rd the “Night of the Radishes.”

In addition to the main event of the radish competition, there are also divisions for sculptures made out of dried corn husks and dried flowers. Visitors from all over the world travel to see the popular three-day festival. Check out some of the submissions from this year and years past:

Follow Gozamos.com’s board Noche de Rabanos 2014 on Pinterest.

[Feature image: Flickr/phylevn]

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