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Piñata

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Piñatas

Piñatas

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What is a piñata?:

A piñata is a figure, usually made from a clay pot covered with paper mache and decorated in bright colors, with candy and fruit inside. At parties piñatas are suspended from a rope and children, usually blind-folded, take turns hitting it with a stick until it breaks and the candy falls out onto the ground and the children rush to collect it. Breaking the piñata is a fun activity at Mexican parties.

History and Meaning of the Piñata:

The piñata's history in Mexico dates back to the same time as the Christmas posadas in Acolman de Nezahualcoyotl, in the present state of Mexico, near the archaeological site of Teotihuacan. In 1586 the Augustinian friars in Acolman received authorization from Pope Sixtus V to hold what were called "misas de aguinaldo", which later became the posadas. It was at these masses that were held in the days leading up to Christmas that the friars introduced the piñata. They used the piñata as an allegory to help them in their efforts to evangelize the native people of the region.

The original piñata was shaped like a star with seven points. The points represented the seven deadly sins, and the bright colors of the piñata symbolize temptation. The blindfold represents faith and the stick is virtue or the will to overcome sin. The candies and other goodies inside the piñata are the riches of the kingdom of heaven. Thus teaching that with faith and virtue one could overcome sin and receive all the rewards of heaven.

The Piñata Today:

In Mexico piñatas are an important part of birthday parties and other parties for children. They also figure prominently in the celebration of posadas at Christmastime. Piñatas now come in a wide variety of designs, such as cartoon characters and animals.

The Piñata Song:

As the piñata is being hit, a song is sung:

Dale, dale dale
No pierdas el tino
Por que si lo pierdes,
Pierdes el camino

Ya le diste uno
Ya le diste dos
Ya le diste tres
Y tu tiempo se acabo

Translation:

Hit it, hit it, hit it
Don't lose your aim
Because if you lose it
You will lose your way

You hit it once
You hit it twice
You hit it three times
And your time is up

Plan a Mexican Party:

If you're planning a party with a Mexican theme, you can sing the traditional Mexican birthday song, Las Mañanitas at your party, and find out how to make a piñata from About.com's Guide to Family Crafts. See more resources for planning a Mexican fiesta here: Throw a Cinco de Mayo party.
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