Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Archive for the tag “festive occasions”

Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) 2016

Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) is a splendid one day creative extravaganza unique to the city of Oaxaca. Imaginative people from around the state have been working on designs for many months, and on December 23 they display their artwork for the enjoyment and amazement of thousands of onlookers, plus they have a chance to win a prize!
Click on any image to enlarge or see a slide show.

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Photo by Rick

We begin our day by eating breakfast in one of the outdoor restaurants that surround the zócalo, the main plaza of Oaxaca where the event takes place. We enjoy watching people construct and put the finishing touches to their depictions of daily life, history, religion, and culture. Some of the radish carvings are done at the last minute!   Every tiny piece of the work must be of natural materials – no wire or plastic – and most of the radish figures are held together with toothpicks.

There are three categories of materials: specially grown giant rabanos (radishes), flor inmortal (looks like what I know as straw flowers), and totomoxtle, or corn husks.

Some photos show entire displays so you can see how elaborate they are, and some are of small sections to show the incredible detail. Photographer friend Rick Impett contributed some excellent photos – thanks, Rick!

MERCADOS (MARKETS)

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Photo by Rick

MUSIC AND DANCING

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RELIGIOUS LIFE

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WEAVERS

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NEFARIOUS CREATURES!

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Photo by Rick

Living lives surrounded with artisans creating textiles, carvings, metalwork, pottery, painting, music and dancing, children of Oaxaca learn to become artists, musicians and craftspeople at a very young age. It’s wonderful to see!

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SPECTACULAR PIECE and the ARTIST

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Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge #50: Alternate Entry

Houses in Oaxaca lack chimneys. But never fear, Santa will find another way to deliver those gifts!

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Día de Muertos – Colima, Mexico

Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of the most important celebrations of the year in Mexico- a day for honoring and remembering ancestors or other loved ones who have died. A few years ago I was living in Colima and was lucky to live across from a park where a special competition took place. Student teams designed and built altars or tapetes (carpets) of natural materials. Since I noticed the activity beginning early in the morning, I was able to enjoy seeing their projects take shape throughout the day.

 

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GETTING STARTED

MANY HANDS WORKING TOGETHER GET THE JOB DONE!

 

 

ANY MATERIAL CAN BE USED AS LONG AS IT’S NATURAL

By late afternoon all the work was completed and thousands of people from all over the city circled the park admiring the intricate designs, eating and drinking special treats provided by food vendors, talking, laughing, and enjoying the evening in true Mexican style! By morning not a bean was left in sight.

ONE PROUD TEAM

ONE PROUD TEAM!

Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE!

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WALKING TALL

Thousands of tourists from other parts of Mexico and the world flock to Oaxaca to enjoy the festivities that take place around the Día de Muertos  (Day of the Dead). The plaza and walking streets surrounding the Santo Domingo Church are hubs of activity for art and craft vendors, musical performances, and puestos (booths or stalls) that offer coffee, chocolate, and pan de muertos, which is a sweet bread baked especially for the celebrations. These stilt walkers cruised the area earning pesos from people delighted to photograph them or even be photographed with them!

Lucky to arrive on the scene just as they were donning their stilts, I sat on the curb and watched all the preparations.

Click on any photo to enlarge it

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Just tie on the stilts…

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Get up with a little help from your friends…Make some adjustments…

Then stand around and attract immediate customers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

In Mexico the boldness of orange brightens every part of life – in fact I’m wondering if the Mexican people invented orange!

They love to….

LIVE IN IT

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WORSHIP IN IT

Church in Xalapa, Veracruz

Church in Xalapa, Veracruz

EAT and DRINK IT

Click on any photo for a larger view

RIDE IN IT or ON IT

CREATE ART and DECORATION WITH IT

CELEBRATE WITH IT

Part of a light show projected onto a church front during Day of the Dead celebrations.

Part of a light show projected onto a church front during Day of the Dead celebrations.

OR JUST RELAX and ENJOY IT!

Sierra Norte near the village of Benito Juárez

Orange you glad it’s photo challenge time?

The World Has So Much to Offer…

And in this corner of the world is Oaxaca!

Life in Oaxaca is rich withHumorous art

HUMOR

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THE PAST

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THE FUTURE

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 FOOD

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ART

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NATURE

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WONDERFUL HIDDEN PLACES

I hope  readers will learn from and smile at my photographic stories!

Murals of Zaachila

In honor of the Day of the Dead (November 2), art students have displayed their talents on walls and doors in the town of Zaachila, Oaxaca, Mexico. While recently hiking through the town, we were treated to this wonderful artwork!

Some are humorous…
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Click on any image to see it enlarged.

Others not so much…
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Some may carry a message or tell a story…

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Others are just fun to look at…

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But all of them will make you think.

Night of the Radishes – Part II

Artisans compete for cash prizes in three categories: radishes, dried flowers (flor inmortal), and corn husks (totomoxtle). I didn’t see the judges choices, but these were my favorites. Click on a thumbnail size to see the photos as a slide show.

Exotic Radish Creature!

Exotic Radish Creature!

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Lovely Lady of Dried Flowers

Lovely Lady of Dried Flowers

Corn Husk Couple to Be

Corn Husk Couple to Be

Astounding Replica of an Entire 261 Member Children's Band!

Astounding Replica of an Entire 261 Member Children’s Band!

CHOCOLATE

Chocolate…the very word evokes images of luxury and sinful decadence once saved for royalty alone…thankfully, times have changed and we can all be royalty!

Everybody Loves Chocolate!

Everybody Loves Chocolate!

Chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree that grows in tropical climates. The scientific name is theobroma cacao, which comes from Greek and means food of the gods. The word cacao refers to the tree and its products before processing. cocoa describes the product after processing, while chocolate refers to any manufactured cacao product.

Cacao was cultivated for the first time in the north of South America and arrived in Mesoamerica very early, even before the time of the Olmecs (1500 BC). Archaeologists have found evidence of cacao use on the coasts of Chiapas (1900 BC) and Veracruz (1750 BC). Around 600 BC, the Maya were producing a drink that was later used by Aztec nobles and warriors. As if we needed another excuse to eat chocolate, they considered it to be a restorative, mood enhancing cure-all! The elite Mixteca consumed cacao on festive occasions and presented it as offerings to the gods.

Typical depiction of  ancient people partaking of "Bitter Water"

Typical depiction of  ancient people partaking of “Bitter Water”

No one knows for sure the origin of the word chocolate. The word cacao has been traced to the Olmec. Around 1550-60, Spaniards that had invaded Mexico began to include chocolate in their diet. They began to use the word chocolate, and it’s believed this word is a derivation of xocolatl, meaning “bitter water”, from the Náhuatl language.

By 1600 chocolate was being shipped to Spain, and from there it spread to become a world favorite. The word chocolate is virtually the same word in all languages.

The history of Oaxaca chocolate goes back for centuries, and chocolate is widely used in Oaxacan culinary treats. Oaxacans consume much more chocolate than any other people in Mexico!

Most of the cacao beans come from the states of Chiapas and Tabasco, but even though Oaxaca doesn’t grow much cacao, it is the center of chocolate production in Mexico.  The indigenous people of Oaxaca have conserved and developed many drinks based on the ancient principles of the Mesoamerican kitchen, and there are at least eleven distinct preparations in the Oaxaca region. The base liquid can be either milk or water, with other possible ingredients being wheat, cinnamon, rice, corn, achiote, cacao flower, sugar, vanilla, almonds, and other ingredients known only in these regions. Two examples are champurrado,  a hot chocolate thickened with cornstarch, and tejate, a refreshing cold  drink made with chocolate, masa, flowers, and the pulp of the mamey fruit.

Stone Wheel Milling Machines

Stone Wheel Milling Machines

Beans Toasted and Ready for Milling

Beans Toasted and Ready for Milling

After the pods are picked from the trees, the beans are removed, fermented, and then ground into a gritty paste that is seasoned with various ingredients, depending on its intended use.

Notice the upper left picture shows how the cacao pods sprout right from the tree trunk.

Beans, Almonds and Cinnamon

Beans, Almonds and Cinnamon

First Milling

First Milling

Second Milling and Sugar Addition

Second Milling and Sugar Addition

Final Blending

Final Blending

“Posada del Cacao”

David and I attended the annual “Posada del Cacao”, an event organized by the Centro Académico y Cultural San Pablo and Chocolate Mayordomo (a major chocolate company)  so that visitors can try the 11 types of chocolate drinks. “The objective is to promote the rich ethnobotanical and culinary heritage that cacao represents among the villages of the state of Oaxaca.”

Traditional Oaxaca chocolate, often referred to as “Mexican Chocolate,” is often ground with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds and formed into bars used to prepare hot chocolate and other dishes. It is readily available in many grocery stores, usually in colorful octagonal boxes filled with thick wedges of chocolate which must be broken apart for use.

Oaxaca is also famous for its mole, a savory dish which sometimes includes chocolate. Mole is savory, not sweet, and may be strange for people who are accustomed to enjoying their chocolate as a dessert. Mole is a rich, piquant sauce which is delicious with a variety of foods. You can buy mole pre-mixed or create your own, using the ingredients that Oaxacans have used for centuries.

Building Wall Slide Show of Mayan Artifacts

Building Wall Slide Show of Mayan Artifacts

Cacao Pods

Cacao Pods

Cacao Beans

Cacao Beans

Frothing the Chocolate Drink

Frothing the Chocolate Drink

Chocolate Drink Served in Gourd Bowls

Chocolate Drink Served in Gourd Bowls

Chocolate Drink  Frothed and Ready to Eat  with Bread for Dunking!

Chocolate Drink  Frothed and Ready to Eat  with Bread for Dunking!

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