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A nine-pointed star piñata
A piñata is a brightly-colored papier-mâché covering either a clay container or cardboard shape. It may originate in Mexico or it may have originated in Bolivia. Marco Polo discovered the Chinese fashioning figures of cows, oxen or buffaloes, covered with colored paper and adorned with harnesses and trappings. Special colors traditionally greeted the New Year. When the mandarins knocked the figure hard with sticks of various colors, seeds spilled forth. After burning the remains, people gathered the ashes for good luck throughout the year.

International spread

Nowadays, piñatas have been adopted in many parts of the world and have become a more common sight at parties and celebrations, especially in Central America and the Southern United States, mostly due to the close influence from Mexicanmarker culture.

Piñatas have also been introduced to Europe over the last several decades, although at a much slower pace.Indiamarker is one of few countries outside of the Americas to have adopted the Mexicanmarker tradition of the piñata for cultural celebrations.

Similar traditions

A similar tradition in Denmarkmarker is slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel") in which a wooden barrel is struck to release candy.

In South Indianmarker villages, festivals feature a competition called Uri adithal (Pot breaking with blindfold) which is inspired by, and closely resembles the piñata event.In India, another similar tradition is associated with Lord Krishna's childhood. A pot is filled with money or treats and hung in public squares or on streets on Krishna's birthday. Youngsters climb on each others back to make a sort of human ladder. The chap right on top breaks the pot. Money showers on folks below.

In the Philippinesmarker, a clay pot or "palayok" is used without the papier-mâché decoration. Hence, the local name is "Paluan ng Palayok" or "Smash the Clay Pot".

In Brazilmarker, a big balloon is used to hold the contents.

In Japanmarker, a similar game called suikawari is played where a watermelon shell is used, instead of a piñata.

See also


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