Piñata is nowadays mainly connected with Mexico and other areas of Central America. Still, the origins of piñata are actually in Italy. Pignatta or "fragile pot" in Italian was made of clay. Pignatta with the shape of a pineapple often served as a symbol of hospitality.

Blindfolded person trying to break the piñata

Tradition of breaking piñatas then moved to Spain where it was part of Lent celebration. In Spain pignatta changed its name to piñata. Sometimes piñatas were called olla or "pot". Piñatas in Spain were continued to be made of clay. Local people also started to decorate them with paper figures.

Piñatas in Spain had religious meaning. The Spaniards believed that the piñata symbolizes Satan.

Piñata was brightly coloured to become the source of temptation for the innocents. Sweets and toys put inside piñata were temptations of Satan. Blindfolded person breaking the piñata represented blind faith. Stick used to break the piñata symbolized everything good. Broken piñata was a proof that once again good has overcome the evil. The content of piñata now became the prize for being a good person.

Apart from clay, piñatas today are made of materials like paper, straw or clay. Piñata, filled with sweets and/or toys, is used at birthday, Christmas and Easter celebrations.

Blindfolded person, holding stick, tries to break the piñata and get what is inside of it. Piñata is suspended from a tree branch or ceiling. Piñatas can be bought in small shops called piñaterias.

During celebrations which include piñata special song is sung:

Dale, dale, dale,
no pierdas el tino;
Porque si lo pierdes
pierdes el camino.
Ya le diste una,
ya le diste dos;
Ya le diste tres,
y tu tiempo se acabó

or translated in English:

Hit it, hit it, hit it (or "go, go, go")
Don't lose your aim
Because if you lose it (your aim)
You will lose the path.
You've already hit it once
You've already hit it twice
You've already hit it thrice
And your time is over

Piñata 2
Mexican piñata shaped as a seven-pointed star

Piñatas shaped as a seven-pointed star are made as part of Mexican Christmas celebration. The content of such piñata, its symbolism and kicking Satan blindfolded are quite similar to the above mentioned Spanish tradition.