05 May 2005

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Another excuse to party, it almost makes me wish I could still stand to be near tequila (future blog entry...) In another pointless foray into trivia simply designed to avoid my actual responsibilities, I chose to explore...

The History Of The Pinata

Who would have thought it would be so nebulous?

The origin of the pinata is shrouded in mystery, which can only be attributed to loss of oral tradition, adaptation of customs between cultures, and far too many missed swings that resulted in concussions.

According to one source, Busta Pinata, the origin of the pinata is attributed to native Mexicans. Another site describes the pinata as an invention of the Italian Renaissance.
"In the 16th century during the Renaissance, Italians were beginning to break away from the traditions handed down from Rome. The pinata was once called a pignatta and it was filled with trinkets, jewelry, or candies....The Italian custom of breaking the pignatta spread throughout Europe and to Spain. Spaniards then began to design the crude pot in order to cover the rough unglazed surface. The pinata was brought to America by the Spanish explorers and conquistadors along with traditions, customs, and religion of their homeland. Mexicans adopted these traditions and the pinata soon became one of their own."
Yet another writer describes the pinata as Chinese in origin, where it was used as a means for celebrating the advent of spring.
"As a result of Marco Polo's adventures into China, he introduced this Chinese custom which was adopted by the Spainish as well as by the French and Italians. The Spanish brought this custom to the new world when they conquered Mexico. The pinata became part of the Posada in the Catholic culture."
And for those of you into symbology...
"The original & traditional pinata has seven points symbolizing the seven deadly sins: envy, sloth, gluttony, greed, lust, anger/wrath, and pride. The ten pointed pinata symbolizes the sins that come from breaking the ten commandments. The stick which is used to break the pinata represents and symbolizes love. It is suppose to destroy the sins by hitting and breaking the pinata into pieces. The candies and treats that come pouring out from the broken pinata symbolize the forgiveness of sins and a new beginning. . . . Before attempting to hit the pinata, the person must cover his eyes, symbolically to protect himself from being enticed by the pinata. After hitting the pinata, the person must make a resolution or resolutions."

Other sources suggest combinations of these theories might be true...
"At the beginning of the 16th century the Spanish missionaries to North America used the piƱata to attract converts to their ceremonies. However indigenous peoples already had a similar tradition. To celebrate the birthday of the Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli, priests placed a clay pot on a pole in the temple at year's end. Colorful feathers adorned the richly decorated pot, filled with tiny treasures.. When broken with a stick or club, the treasures fell to the feet of the god's image as an offering. The Mayans, great lovers of sport played a game where the player’s eyes were covered while hitting a clay pot suspended by string. The missionaries ingeniously transformed these games for religious instruction. They covered the traditional pot with colored paper, giving it an extraordinary, perhaps fearful appearance."

Though the history may be unclear, pinatas are a fun way to introduce violence to your social events with minimal risk of bloodshed. You can celebrate your chinese/italian/mexican/spanish heritage by busting into...

Something slightly more traditional...

Half of spiderman?

...Tony Hawk?

Or even get some release from everyday frustrations..

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

No comments: