The Night of the Radishes (December 23) and the processions on Christmas Eve from the parishes to the zocalo and back to the parishes are the two star events of Christmas in Oaxaca.
The artistry, inventiveness and creativity displayed by the radish carvers – many of whom appeared to be of university age – was remarkable. The artists competed for cash prizes and there was a juvenile division. In addition to the radish carving, there were sets made primarily from corn husks, Max and I had about a half-hour to 45 minute wait before being able to enter the exhibit area (that was around 4 p.m.). By 6 p.m. the wait line had snaked in front of the Cathedral at least three times, so the wait by then must have been three hours.
The processions were fun with their very young Marys and Josephs, who tossed candy to the crowd: some parishes had bands and two had mojiganjas; some processions seemed more solemn than others and some parishioners were far better dressed than others.