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How to Make a Pinata

Instead of pinning any tails on donkeys, why not hit a donkey until it breaks open to spill out candy? Pinatas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and are found at almost every Mexican celebration. Now you can learn to make one for your next party!

The History of the Pinata

Although there are many stories about the pinata's history (some say it was invented by Native Mexicans while others say it originated in Italy during the Renaissance), the most popular story is that it was invented by the Chinese. To celebrate the New Year, they would make figures of cows, oxen or buffalo covered with colored paper and filled with seeds. When Marco Polo discovered this Chinese custom, he brought it back to Europe (particularly Italy and Spain) where it became associated with Lent (the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by Christians). When the Spanish conquered Mexico in the 16th century, they introduced Mexicans to the pinata.

Religion and the Pinata

The most traditional pinata style is the star with seven points. Each cone represents the seven deadly sins - gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride and lust. Although the point is to get the candy inside, the pinata game is actually filled with symbolism. The blindfolded player with the stick represents the leader trying to destroy evil. This is faith because faith is blind (you've heard of blind faith, right?). Secondly, the pinata symbolizes hope - it hangs above people's heads, so they look up to the sky or heaven to wait for the prize inside. Finally, the pinata represents charity because when it breaks, everyone gets to share the candy.

How to Make a Pinata :: Materials

So now that you know the history behind the pinata, are ya ready to make one for your next birthday bash or Cinco de Mayo celebration? Here's what you'll need!

  • 1 balloon.
  • Newspaper.
  • 2 cups of flour.
  • 2 1/2 cups of water.
  • Colored crepe paper.
  • Paint, crayons or felt markers.
  • String.
  • Goodies to fill the pinata.

How to Make a Pinata :: Instructions

1.) Blow up the balloon.
2.) Mix flour and water in a large bowl until it makes a smooth paste.
3.) Tear newspapers into long, thin strips and dip them in the mixture.
4.) Carefully place the strips on the balloon until it's covered, but leave a hole at the top.
5.) Let it dry, and then place another layer of strips dipped in the mixture over the balloon. Repeat this step once more.
6.) When dry, pop and remove the balloon.
7.) Paint and decorate your pinata with feathers and glitter, and glue colored crepe paper on the sides and bottom. Be creative!
8.) Punch two holes on either side of the pinata and pass a large piece of string through the holes so you'll be able to hang it up.
9.) Fill your pinata with candy, confetti, toys and other cool treats through the hole you left at the top. Now you're ready to have fun with the pinata!

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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.

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