Absolutely everyone knows about pinatas. The pinata is one of the most important elements of the Latin American popular culture, and in recent years, of the American culture as well. There is a tradition behind the elaboration, distribution and smashing of pinatas. Many people think that the pinata had its origin in Mexico a couple of years ago, or that they were intended to be recreational objects. Truth is much more different and interesting than that. Truth is that the history of the pinata goes back to a time long ago, and there are some fun facts related to said tradition. These are ones of the most interesting and fun.
The word Pinata is from Italian origin. The original word Pignatta means “fragile container”. This name stuck and it is the one everyone knows it for
In the book The Travel of Marco Polo, written by the Italian explorer Marco Polo, it is explained that pinatas are from Chinese origin, and that they were originally used in New Chinese Year celebrations.
Marco Polo, after discovering the pinata, decided to bring it to Italy where it was used for catholic religious celebrations like “Festividades de Cuaresma”.
The utilization of pinatas for catholic celebrations was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards. Once in the country, they started to be used to honor the traditional Aztec gods and they were made of vessels and clay empty sculptures. They were filled with grain or fruits and the contents spilled represented abundance.
The Mexican religious missionaries used the tradition of the pinata for evangelism purposes. They attributed a religious meaning to this object.
The original pinata had seven tips, which represented the seven deadly sins: hubristic pride,greed, lust, malicious envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.
The bright colors used to decorate pinatas symbolize temptation. The goal of breaking the pinata is to overcome temptation notwithstanding how alluring it might be in order to get the reward.
The candy, fruits or gifts located inside the pinata represent the riches of the kingdom of heaven that one gets when overcoming the deadly sins.
The objects associated with pinata smashing like sticks, blindfolds and candy, represent the strength, faith and fortune respectively, according to catholic tradition.
Pinatas have stopped being used only for religious purposes, this means that the designs tend to change according to popular preference. The tendency at present is to make pinatas based on public figures. People like Robben, El Chapo, and the controversial Donald Trump are among the most popular designs currently.