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Know your Destination: The Mexican Piñata

The piñata is a classic of the posadas of December in Mexico, and in general of any celebration in the country.

Piñata

There are several stories about its origin and tradition. On one side, there is a similar concept of Chinese origins, from where it was taken to Europe, and eventually to America in the 16th century. On the other, there is evidence that the Mayans used to have a similar tradition where they broke a chocolate-filled clay pot while it remained suspended.

Originally they were only made of clay. Nowadays one can find them made of clay pots lined with colorful papers and decorations. The colorful item is shaped to a seven-pointed star, where each peak represents a capital sin, while the decoration represents temptation. Breaking it blindfolded represents blind faith and the will to win. While the fruits, or treats inside, are the riches or rewards of having won.

During Mexican celebrations, they are filled with seasonal fruits such as tejocote, jicama, lime, sugar cane, tangerine, orange, peanuts, and varieties of sweets.

Did you know… The person designated to break the piñata is rotated 33 times before starting. The use of Pinatas has become so popular that a phrase from one of the chants sung at posadas has also reached popularity: “I do not want gold, nor do I want silver, what I want is to break the piñata!”

In Latin America countries, the piñata is also present in children’s celebrations. On such occasions, it takes the form of a  character or theme known among the little ones. It is made of cardboard and is filled with sweets. Visit the Privilege Tips section for more curiosities, travel recommendations or recipes from Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, or the Canary Islands.