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La noche de los rbanos La noche de los rbanos es una exhibicin y competencia muy especial que toma lugar cada

23 de diciembre en la plaza central de Ciudad Oaxaca, en Mxico. Los competidores hacen esculturas de rbanos grandes que convierten en animales, bailarines, santos, la Virgen Mara, o casi cualquier cosa imaginable. Las esculturas se exhiben en la noche a un pblico vido que quiere asombrarse ante la habilidad y creatividad de los artistas. El ganador recibe 12,000 pesos y su foto sale en el peridico. Esta tradicin anual probablemente comenz en el siglo 16 y todava es muy popular. Al terminar la competencia, an queda mucho que hacer. Hay comidas y artesanas por todas partes, y amigos y familiares celebran la fiesta hasta bien entrada la noche.

La noche de los rbanos El escenario es el zcalo o plaza central de Ciudad Oaxaca, Mxico. La fecha es el 23 de diciembre, y la hora es el anochecer. El evento es la Noche de los Rbanos, una de las competencias de arte folklrico ms inusuales de todo Mxico. El pblico ya hace una larga fila y los jueces estn listos. Docenas de quioscos exhiben esculturas que representan animales, santos, bailarines, catedrales, la Virgen Mara, y casi cualquier cosa que surja de la frtil imaginacin de los creadores. El riesgo es alto: el ganador se llevar a casa 12,000 pesos y su foto saldr en el peridico. Aunque el origen de este concurso tradicional se pierde en el tiempo, sabemos que los espaoles trajeron el rbano y otras verduras a Mxico en el siglo 16. Las leyendas hablan de dos monjes que alentaron a los mexicanos originales a sembrar cultivos para vivir y vender. Para atraer compradores al mercado local, un fraile sugiri esculpir rbanos en formas imaginativas y exhibirlos junto a los productos que esperaban vender. Tres siglos despus, en 1897, el alcalde de Oaxaca formaliz la tradicin anual y la exhibicin ha tomado lugar desde entonces. Los rbanos no son los pequeos, rojos y redondos que se ven en Estados Unidos. Son gruesos, largos y cilndricos, miden hasta 50 centmetros de largo, y pesan hasta ms de 3 kilos cada uno. Crecen con formas contorsionadas con mltiples extremidades. Sus formas grotescas inspiran a los escultores, que deben reaccionar creativamente ante lo que tienen a mano. Esto da un aspecto improvisado a muchas de las obras. Si las esculturas fueran msica, la msica sera jazz. Se emplea una variedad de tcnicas para crear estas obras de arte folklricas pero, no importa la tcnica, al pblico le encanta la exhibicin. Los flashes de mltiples cmaras dan ritmo al acontecimiento, y expresiones de asombro escapan de los observadores al toparse con una escultura particularmente imaginativa. Pronto se elegir a un ganador. y esto es bueno, porque ni los ms frecuentes rocos de agua pueden impedir que las obras de arte se marchiten en la clida noche oaxaquea. El pblico se va poco a poco, examinando los quioscos de artesanas o probando los dulces navideos. La Noche de los Rbanos ha concluido hasta el ao prximo.

Night of the Radishes The Night of the Radishes is a unique exhibition and competition that takes place every December 23rd in the main plaza in Oaxaca City, Mexico. People carve large radishes into animals, dancers, saints, the Virgin Mary, or nearly anything they can imagine. They are displayed in the evening to eager crowds who come to be amazed by the skill and creativity of the sculptors. The winner receives 12,000 pesos and gets his picture in the morning paper. This yearly tradition probably started in the 16th century, and is as popular as ever. When the competition is over, there is still plenty to do. Food and crafts are everywhere, and friends and families celebrate the holiday season well into the night. Night of the Radishes The setting is the main Zcalo - or central plaza - of Oaxaca City, Mexico. The date is December 23rd, and the time is sunset. The event is the Night of the Radishes, one of the most unusual folk art competitions in all of Mexico. Already the line of eager viewers is long, and the judges are ready. Dozens of booths display carvings representing animals, saints, dancers, cathedrals, the Virgin Mary, nearly anything that might arise from the fertile imaginations of the creators. The stakes are high. The winner takes home 12,000 pesos and gets his picture in the morning paper. Although the origin of this traditional contest is lost in the mists of time, we do know that the Spanish brought radishes and other vegetables to Mexico in the 16th century. Legend speaks of two monks that encouraged the natives to cultivate crops for subsistence and for sale. One friar suggested that as a way to entice people to the local market, they carve radishes into fanciful shapes and display them along with the produce they hoped to sell. Three centuries later, in 1897, the mayor of Oaxaca formalized what had become a yearly tradition, and the exhibition has been held ever since. The radishes are not the little red round ones so prevalent in the United States. They are thick, long and cylindrical, measuring up to 20 inches in length and weighing up to seven pounds each. They grow into contorted shapes with multiple appendages. This grotesque outcome proves inspirational to the carvers, who are often forced to react creatively to what they have at hand. This gives an improvisational feel to many of the works. If the sculptures were music, they would be jazz. A variety of techniques are employed to create these folk art masterpieces, but whatever the approach, the crowd loves the exhibition. Popping flashbulbs punctuate the proceedings as cries of amazement ripple through the onlookers when a particularly inventive display is encountered. Soon a winner will be chosen, but even the most diligent spraying cannot keep the masterworks from browning and wilting in the warm Oxacan night. The people drift off, perusing the many craft booths, or perhaps sampling some of the many sweets and pastries made especially for the holiday season. The Night of the Radishes is over until next year.