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The Piñatas in Puerto Vallarta for parties

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A piñata is a container, often made of papier-mâché, pottery, or cloth, that is decorated, filled with candy, and then broken as part of a celebration. Piñatas are commonly associated with Mexico. The idea of breaking a container filled with treats came to Europe in the 14th century.

Viva Fiesta, 1331 Peru / San Salvador, Col 5 Diciembre.

The piñata is most strongly identified with Mexico. The art of making modern piñatas falls under the Mexican craft heading of “cartonería”, which refers to the making of items from paper and cardboard. This puts piñatas in the same category as amate paper craft, Judas figures and Mexico City style alebrijes. The Museo de Arte Popular held the first “Concurso de Piñatas Mexicanas” (Mexican Piñata Contest) in 2007 with prizes of 15,000, 10,000 and 5,000 pesos. The purpose of the contest is to help retain this tradition and help it to be continued to be valued. The Museo del Caracol in Mexico City held a workshop on how to make traditional piñatas, as part of its outreach program to the public.

While the religious significance has been mostly lost, the ceremony that occurs with it has remained mostly intact. Piñatas remain most popular during Las Posadas with birthday parties coming in second. Each participant, usually a child, will have a turn at hitting the piñata, which is hung from above on a string. The participant is blindfolded, given a wooden stick, and then spun a number of times. As the participants works to hit the piñata, another moves it to make it harder to hit. There is a time limit to any one person’s attempts, which is marked out by the singing of a traditional song, “Dale, dale, dale, no pierdas el tino”.

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Piñatas were traditionally made with a clay pot base and many artisans make a living selling just the pot for people to decorate as they wish. However, clay pot piñatas have mostly been replaced by those made with cardboard and papier-mâché, usually fashioned over balloons. One reason for this is that broken pot pieces can be dangerous to children. These are then decorated with crepe paper, other colored paper and other items. Piñatas today come in all shapes and sizes, with many representing cartoon or other characters known to most children. Popular shapes today can include Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or characters based on popular movies and television shows such as Nemo, the Lion King and more. For Christmas, the traditional style with the points is popular as it is associated with the Star of Bethlehem. However, for the most part, piñata designs have been completely commercialized.

Traditionally in Mexico, especially at Christmas, piñatas are filled with fruit and candies such as guavas, oranges, jicamas, pieces of sugar cane, tejocotes and wrapped candies. Some piñatas are “traps” filled with flour, confetti or water. Special baskets of treats may be given to children who come up empty handed after a piñata is broken. These are called colaciónes and are given to prevent hurt feelings.

There are a number of localities in Mexico that specialize in the making of piñatas for sale. Acolman, the origin of piñatas, along with neighboring Otumba are one. Acolman hosts an annual National Piñata Fair. This event includes cultural events, workshops on the making of piñatas, piñata contests and traditional Posadas. The event has attracted as many as 100,000 visitors over the days that it is held, many of whom come from Mexico City.

About 400 families in the town of San Juan de la Puerta, in the south of the Cuerámaro municipality in Guanajuato, are dedicated to the creation of piñatas, and produce about 16,000 pieces each month. The making of piñatas supports about half of the people in the town. It is the second most important economic activity after agriculture. This tradition began in 1960 by Juan Remigio Anguiano, who brought the craft to the town after living in Mexico City. Today, piñatas from the town are sold in various parts of the state.

In the penal facility of Huajuapan de León, prisoners make piñatas to sell. This began when several prisoners brought the craft with them when they were incarcerated about twenty years ago. These piñatas have become traditional for the population of the city for Christmas.

The busiest time for the sale of piñatas in Mexico is December for posadas. During bad economic times, sales of piñatas can fall as much as thirty percent as they did in 2008. Store in Tabasco selling both traditional star-shape and contemporary design piñatas.

The star shape, or ball with points, still remains popular for the Christmas season, but for other events, traditional designs such as donkeys have almost entirely been replaced by cartoon characters based on U.S. movies and television shows.

One niche market for piñatas in Mexico is of those themed for adults. These include political figures, especially those who are not particularly liked. Another type for the adult market are sexually-themed piñatas, mostly those in the form of exotic dancers and strippers. Of the female of this type, the most popular are blondes. For the male, darker shades are preferred. These piñatas will be filled with adult items such as condoms in addition to candy.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi%C3%B1ata

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