Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) Poster

Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) is an annual Christmas event held on December 23rd in the main square of the City of Oaxaca, Mexico, featuring a contest in which participants carving oversized radishes into decorative centerpieces. The festival began when farmers would carve imported radishes to attract customers’ attention to their produce booths during the Christmas market. The mayor of the city created the formal competition in 1897 and today, the city specially grows and provides the radishes used for the event. Everyone is welcome to participate and there are even radish carving classes for children at the festival. There are also competitions for sculptures made out of dried flowers and corn husks, but invariably the radishes are what attract the crowds. Lines form all day to view the creations but the real festivities begin when night falls, with fireworks, floats and food.

The festival itself is exclusive to Oaxaca, so the poster is in Spanish and almost serves as a call for entries to residents of the city. The poster reflects the open invitation to participate in the competition. A passerby on the street would see the flap floating in the breeze, and, drawn by the movement, investigate. As the viewer “peels” back the flap to reveal the information underneath, they themselves become a participant, transforming the simple raw material into something much more intricate. The illustrations and even the type mimic the hand-carved look of radish sculptures while giving further hints as to some of the activities at the festival.