A Mexican party isn't complete without a piñata. It's a hollow papier-mâché sculpture usually designed festively in varying colors, according to BBC. It's filled with all kinds of candy, strung up high in a pole or a tree branch, and then smashed to pieces by kids and partygoers.
The piñata influence has spread across the world, and in some other cultures, they feature piñatas in their parties as well. The Philippines, for example, mostly include piñatas in children's parties, a testament to the widespread Spanish influence from when it was colonized for hundreds of years. Here are other cool facts about the piñata.
It may have originated from China. Experts at the Centre for History and New Media deduced that the piñata tradition may have originated from China through Marco Polo, who brought back the tradition to Europe. In his travels, Marco Polo saw how the Chinese celebrate events by using hollow sculptures and filling them with seeds which are then smashed by sticks.
Or the Aztecs were the ones who popularized the tradition. During the flourishing times of the Aztecs, they celebrate the birth of their god, Huitzilopochtli by decorating clay pots with colorful feathers and filled with meaningful ornaments. The pot is then smashed with a stick and the treasured that have spilled represented their offering to the god.
The piñata used to have a religious symbolism. It isn't quite practiced more often these days, but according to Mex Connect, the piñata used to have a moral meaning: all are justified through faith. The piñata also represent three theological virtues such as "esperanza or hope", which is shown when the people yearn for the prize the piñata has when hanging on their heads; "catequismo", and "charidad or charity."
No one really knows the exact origins of the piñata, but this Spanish and Mexican tradition continues to bring joy to the people's lives. Smashing a pot with all your strength is also a good way to release stress, as long as you know where to hit!