Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good bye Old Man 2011

In a couple of hours it will be time to party, exulting in the passing of another year and welcoming the new one with gusto. But for now it is time to be introspective. 2011 is waving goodbye and we play the memories as we watch it depart. The highlights bring smiles to our faces as we remember our vacations, a special birthday, the birth of a new relationship. We revel in the feelings of joy, prosperity, comfort and love. The poignant times glare back at us, taunting us to do better next time around. Sad, angry and frustrating times make their stamp on our memories. We might ask ourselves, "Did I learn anything from this mess?" Why? I miss him. I made some bad choices. These, however, are points in time where we made big changes or chose to take a new path.
The good and the bad, sometimes in balance and sometimes heavily weighted to one side or the other. Our joys and happy memories provide fertilizer to our dreams, daring us to hope for better more fulfilling things in the coming year. The difficult times clip our wings so we don't fly too close to the sun and see our fantasies melt like wax.
2012 is waiting for us just around the corner. We stand at a cross roads. As much as we look back on the pas we also look forward. There is a fresh year, one full of promise. It is unwritten. Anything can happen. Long held prayers and dreams just might be answered. Most things we wish for won't happen, but many unlooked for blessings will surprise us. the worst tragedy we can think of likely won't take place, but we will still be blindsided by unexpected loss, difficult situations, things we were sure would never happen to us. The good, the band and the countless things in between, 2012 will brings some of it all.
I wish for all of you that your blessings be many and your tragedies few. I hope that you will grow and shed the 2011 version of yourself and revel in your new skin. I hope you make lasting friendships and that the lonely times be sparse. I dare you to take a chance, learn something new, do somethings crazy. Be bold! This is a new year with endless potential is is unwritten. What will you contribute to the story that is 2012?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Radish Festival

On the 23rd of December the zocalo (down town square) in Oaxaca City is lined with little wooden booths. A cordoned off walk way surrounds the booths and people busily dash around the square setting up their little stand. It is La Noche de los Rabanos or the night of the radishes. Local artist set out elaborately carved radishes, detailed sculptures from marigolds, and corn husk creations. After sunset the show starts and people spill into the square, making a long winding line to see the radishes. The line is tightly packed to prohibit people cutting into line and it slowly crawls towards the booths. Nervous artisans spray their creations to keep them from turning brown and wilting. Finally after a long wait you get a chance to see the creations for yourself. Booth after booth depict detailed nativity scenes, cultural dancers, and other masterpieces carved from radishes. The marigold and corn husk creations are no less amazing. After you make it through the line there are vendors to visit for a nice cup of hot chocolate and a snack
The Spanish first brought radishes to Mexico in the 1500s. The legend says that two Spanish friars encouraged the indigenous people to carve the radishes so that they sold better in the market. In 1897 the mayor of Oaxaca announced the first radish festival. Since then it has become a yearly tradition.
This year marks the 113th anniversary of the radish festival. The winner of the best radishes will receive a 1,300 dollar prize. Today the radishes are grown in lots of fertilizer with heavy chemicals to promote growth. These radishes are not recommended for consumption. They can grow up to 50 centimeters in length about 19.7 inches.
This is a unique and fun festival to go to complete with large crowds, excited children, excellent food, and fine entertainment. If you find yourself in Oaxaca during Christmas time, it is worth it to check out La Noche de los Rabanos.