While most people think of children hitting a cardboard or paper maché type character filled with candy at parties, the history of Piñata actually goes back to China when the Mandarins knocked clay figures with sticks, until seeds spilled out to help celebrate the new year . After the seeds were collected the remains were burnt while people gathered the ashes for good luck.
From China the Piñata can be traced to Europe and was used to celebrate Lent. The custom-made it way to Spain and the first Sunday in Lent became a fiesta called the ‘Dance of the Piñata’.
As the Piñata made its way to North America it was linked to several religions and even used to ward off Satan. After finally making it to Mexico, it took on a new flavor and was used to celebrate birthdays and stuffed with goodies that spilled out. People where blindfolded and given a stick to hit the Piñata.
Children and adults across the globe now use the Piñata to help celebrate birthdays by using cardboard covered in cray paper and given a bat to hit it. The blindfold is still used, but not all that popular.
– Nancy Feldman