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Mahmood Gusev
Mahmood Gusev

How Pinata Became a Symbol of Celebration and Culture

"Historia y origen de una tradición" (History and Origin of a Tradition) by Felix Emmanuel Romero Rojas features a traditional seven-point star piñata. The piece won an honorary mention in the Museum of Popular pinata contest this year. Museo de Arte Popular (MAP) / Museum of Popular Art hide caption

The pinata 'Alebrijes, Tonas y Nahuales' won first place in the pinata contest organized by the Museum of Popular Art in Mexico. By René Bautista Lemus. Museo de Arte Popular (MAP) / Museum of Popular Art hide caption


There is no recorded date as to when the pinata arrived in Mexico, but there is some speculation that the custom was carried there by Spanish explorers. In Mexico the pinata continued to have religious significance, however several changes did occur. The custom of the piñata is more closely associated with Christmas rather than Lent, although piñatas are used for many types of celebrations and holidays.

Today many piñatas are made using a papier maché method. In this method paper strips are dipped in a glue-like substance and applied to a base. the base of the pinata determines the shape. Bases can be made of hatboxes, paper bags, or chicken wire covered with cloth dipped in plaster of Paris.

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One of the easiest ways to make a piñata is to cover a balloon. Balloons can be round, egg shaped, long, or a combination of these shapes. After inflating a balloon, paper strips dipped in paste are applied in layers. An opening at the top of the piñata must be made so that it can be filled with treats later. Four layers of paper will give the piñata strength. When the piñata is dry the balloon can be removed. A harness, made with rope or twine is attached so that it encircles the pinata from bottom to top. Piñatas are decorated using strips of tissue paper folded lengthwise and cut into fringe. Sometimes piñatas are decorated during a party. Traditionally, on the day of the party, pastries are baked to served to guests, and piñatas are filled with candy, nuts, fruits, and sometimes toys.

Made the pinata and it looked amazing. Painted it black once finished paper Mache and that made a great contrast against the pink and red fringe which I did half and half. Also used streamers instead of crepe paper and that worked out well. Thanks for a brilliant tutorial! My friends loved it.


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