Kw-logo-smaller

The History of The Piñata

May 01, 2013

Piñatas are a fun part of traditional Mexican festivities, whether it’s a birthday party or Cinco de Mayo. It's fun to see these brightly decorated candy-filled creations (and even more fun to take a whack at them) but piñatas actually have a long and fascinating history that spans the globe and different ancient cultures. Find out more about the history of the piñata!

Chinese Cheer

Some people say that the idea of the piñata actually originated in China. When Marco Polo, a European explorer, first visited China he noticed that the people celebrated their lunar New Year with figures of cows, oxen and buffaloes decorate with colorful tissue paper. The figures would be filled with seeds and then pelted by revelers with mandarins, so when the seeds rained over the party it symbolised good crops and prosperity. The remains were then burned into ash for good luck.

Latin Craftin’

This idea traveled back to Europe with Marco Polo, back to Italy and eventually Spain as well and started appearing in the 14th Century. The word “pignatta” means “fragile pot”. Early piñatas were clay pots similar to ones that carry water, and in the 14th Century it was adopted as a way to celebrate Christian festivities, especially Lent.

In Spain the first day of Lent became “The Dance of the Piñata”, and as part of the festivities the plain clay pots became more and more decorated and colorful, often with ribbons and streamers and fringed paper.

Aztec Allure

In the 16th Century the Spanish brought the custom of piñatas to the new world. They used the piñatas as a way of attracting the Mayan people to Christianity and converting them, but funnily enough both cultures already had similar traditions.

The native people of Mexico worshipped The Aztec God of War Huitzilopochtli by decorating a clay pot in vibrant colors, feathers and materials and placing it on a stick outside their temples at the year’s end. The Mayans loved public festivities, so they would cover their eyes and try to hit the decorated pot with a stick. The pot was often filled with jewels and treasures! The treasures would then fall outside the temple as an offering to the god of war.

The Ancient Aztecs worshipped the God of War using an early version of a pinata
The Ancient Aztecs worshipped the God of War using an early version of a pinata

Have Your Say

Do you like piñatas? Have you ever made one? Let us know in the comments section below!

Related Stories

 

>
>

readers voted!

Comments

*Break_It_Down18*
I Luv Hitting Da Pinatas lol
commented: Sun May 06, 2012

one day one hour
candy so sweet and has so many flavors
commented: Sat May 05, 2012

sweetlily196

sweetlily196 wrote:

i love candy!!!!!!!!!!
commented: Fri May 04, 2012

there are 11 more comments

Please login or register to add comments

share with your friends


Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


like this article?
get more just like it in your email

Poll

Why Are Players Spun 33 Times?

  • It takes 33 hits to break open the pinata.
  • To confuse the player as much as possible.
  • It represents Jesus Christ's age when he was crucified.
  • It's a good luck number in Hispanic culture.

related stories

Micro_howtomakepinata-micro
Traditionally seen at Mexican celebrations, piñatas can make any kind of party a smash – and even...
Micro_costarica-article
Costa Rica is a country in Central America that’s got two spectacular bodies of water on either s...
Micro_eskimo_pie_box-article
Eskimo Pie is a hard chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar wrapped in foil. The yummy treat wou...
Micro_hispanic-micro
Hispanic culture is about a heck of a lot more than tacos. Check out the 411 on this vibrant comm...

latest videos

Random in the forums

Divergent_FourTris
xcv s
reply 10 minutes
Divergent_FourTris
Six
reply 11 minutes
Thunderpandapaw
Guvyfyfy.idytd,ds by.muvv
reply 15 minutes
Divergent_FourTris
"hugebear" wrote:"Divergent_FourTris" wrote:I haven't had lunch today, but yesterday I ate at Ted's Whats Teds?:D We had the pub lunch today and I chose the  Flame grilled  Chicken caibatta and potato wedges   I would of preferred if it came with the proper fries / chips and with the salt and vinegar dressing but Im not complaining too much :)  Ted's is a Mexican resuraunt Today I had roast with a roll ;)
reply 25 minutes
CandyDreamer
CandyDreamer posted in General:
bored
reply 31 minutes

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

100x100_ra_logo_girl

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

_thumb_100x100

Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...

_thumb_100x100

We have all played the famous game Sudoku, now play it online with this Classic ...