Piñatas are centerpieces of birthdays and other festive events like Christmas celebration.
A piñata is a clay pot or cardboard, or a cover structure wire and adorned with paper mache colored paper, which inside contains fruit, candy or other prizes, and hangs from a rope or some high place to be broken with a stick or club by a person, and breaking releases its contents on participants in the game.
As Marco Polo recounts in his book Il Millione, also known as The Travels of Marco Polo, the pinatas are native to China, where they were used to the new year celebrations. Later, Marco Polo brought this tradition to Italy where it was adapted to the celebrations of Lent. From there they went to Spain, where the practice of the piñata in Mexico, where it became very popular spread. However, there is also evidence that the Aztecs performed a similar festival to celebrate the god Huitzilopochtli.
Soon they used the piñata as a tool for evangelization in the New World. In the early sixteenth century, Spanish missionaries that went to America lured locals to their ceremonies by using piñatas. The friars cleverly transformed the traditional ceremony of the pot in religious instruction sessions. They did this by covering the pot with colored paper, and maybe give a stunning look.
A girls break a piñata at an inn in the City of Mexico. The modern piñata tradition is said to have originated at the same time as the Christmas posadas in Nezahualcoyotl Acolman originated in the state of Mexico, near the archaeological site of Teotihuacan. In 1586 the Augustinian friars Acolman received permission from Pope Sixtus V to celebrate what “Masses of Christmas,” which later became called posadas. It was at these masses that took place in the days before Christmas that the friars introduced the piñata. They used the piñata as an allegory to help them in their efforts to evangelize the people of the region. The original piñata was shaped like a star with seven peaks. The peaks representing the seven deadly sins and the bright colors of the piñata symbolize temptation. The piñata was transformed into a representation of blind faith and virtue or the will to overcome sin. The candies and other goodies inside the piñata represented the riches of the kingdom of heaven, therefore the teaching that was accompanied with faith and virtue one could overcome sin and receive all the rewards of heaven.