The piñata and its origins
Of the many Mexican traditions that are known overseas, the piñata is probably the most recognized of all.
Though its exact origin is unfamiliar, it seems that the Mexican piñata has its roots in China. Italian explorer Marco Polo recounted seeing in his travels a ritual in which the figure of an ox filled with seeds was broken open with sticks to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
A mix of traditions
The practice was transported to Europe in the 14th century and was adapted to the celebrations of Lent. In the 16th century, Spanish missionaries introduced this tradition to Mexico with the aim of converting the indigenous population to Christianity. Similar traditions were already found in the Aztec and Mayan populations where clay pots filled with goodies were broken open with clubs. The missionaries adapted these practices for religious teaching.
In this way, the piñata became another resultant of the fusion of different cultures that over time has become the Mexico of today; a country where Catholicism is rich in colourful expression and where the mix of old and new has produced a rich culture.
For parties and posadas, the piñata
The piñata has become a staple in Mexican festivities and none more so than the Christmas Posada, a celebration that reenacts the story of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to shelter and for Mary to give birth to baby Jesus.
For this celebration the piñata takes the shape of a star with seven points, representing the seven deadly sins; pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. The piñata is filled with candy and is attractively decorated with strips of colourful shiny paper said to represent the temptation of these sins. This representation of evil must therefore be destroyed with a wooden club and a sweet surprise is the reward for doing so.
No matter the origins of the piñata, today it is a representation of Mexican culture and a tradition that Mexican families enjoy and aim to preserve.
What is your favourite Mexican tradition? Let us know in the comments section below.
There are many reasons to make Mexico your holiday destination of choice; its culture, its history, its food. The country offers visitors many options whether they are looking to relax, to party or to go on adventures. However, there is only one place in Mexico that covers all of these aspects and more, that place is Cancun. Here we present you our reasons for choosing Cancun as your next holiday destination:
1. There is no other sea like the Caribbean
The first time you see the Caribbean Sea in person is a moment you’ll never forget. The view from Calinda bridge, next to the Grand Oasis Palm and where the lagoon meets the sea, is truly impressive. Just looking into the distance at the many blue tones with Isla Mujeres on the horizon is a relaxing activity that will improve anyone’s day. Plus, the tranquil, warm waters of the Caribbean make it the ideal option for a safe and hassle-free swimming experience, especially if you’re travelling with young children.
2. For its history
As we have written about before, Cancun is a very young city. With less than 50 years in existence, Cancun is one of the youngest cities in Mexico. Nevertheless, the Yucatan peninsula – where Cancun is located – is rich in history; for example the caves of Loltun show signs of man dating back to 800 BC.
Furthermore, the first encounters between the European colonists and the native Indian population took place here. The history of the first mestizo and thus the history of modern-day Mexico began in these parts with the arrival of explorer Gonzalo Guerrero, known as the father of the mestizo population. The meeting of these two worlds has left the peninsula with distinct customs and historic places of interest. The regions rich history has made Cancun the perfect base to explore it in-depth.
3. For its gastronomy
One of the results of this mix of cultures is an incredibly rich and diverse cuisine. Add this to the fact that many people have moved to Cancun from all over Mexico and further afield and have bought their regional cuisines with them. This combination means that you can find restaurants specializing in a wide array of Mexican and international foods. It is a place where you can find incredible gourmet restaurants that you won’t find in many other places in Mexico. The perfect example of this is Restaurante Benazuza at the Grand Oasis Sens. A true dining experience where molecular gastronomy takes centre stage and ‘wow!’ is the only response to each dish of its exceptional set menu.
4. For its people
There is no other place in Mexico where people are so identified by service as Cancun. This is a city that was literally born for tourism and lives off of the wide array of attractions it has to offer. Cancun’s inhabitants are kind by nature and love to welcome visitors and show them a good time.
5. For everything we offer!
If this wasn’t enough, our hotels boast beautiful beaches, superb swimming pools and resplendent rooms. Moreover, we are the kings of entertainment; with the best shows, concerts and parties in the Mexican Caribbean and we can’t wait to show you!