First a bit of history, because I find it interesting (if you don’t, feel free to just skip down to the how-to part). It’s unclear precisely where or how the pinata originated, and there are currently two different theories on the matter: one says that it originated in China, one says that it began with the Aztecs in Mexico. It could be both, seeing as how all indigenous peoples who were here prior to the arrival of the Europeans actually immigrated from Asia, so it’s possible that the Chinese originally came up with the idea for the pinata and then brought it over here when they immigrated about 35,000 years ago to North America. Some of those immigrants would have ended up becoming
|the native peoples of Mexico such as the Aztecs and Mayans. The theory about China started with Marco Polo who saw that the Chinese would construct figures of cows, oxen, and other animals. They would then stuff them with seeds, cover them with colored paper, and decorate them. For their New Year’s celebration the mandarins would smash|
the figures with sticks of various colors and the seeds would spill out. After burning the remains, they would collect the ashes because they thought they would bring them good luck throughout the year.
The Aztecs had a very similar tradition, where they would make clay pots in the shape of their gods, fill them with beads, jewelry, berries, and nuts. They would then break them with sticks and the spilling forth of the contents was meant to signify the generosity of the gods.
How to make your own piñata at home
Today, I’m going to show you how to make a pinata at home, which is actually a very easy and simple process. All you’ll need is, basically, some flour, water, newspaper, a balloon, a box, and some scissors (I think that’s it–check the video to be sure). Oh, also, if you want to decorate it you’ll need any paint or markers that you might want to do that with. Here’s what to do:
Additional Resources and Further Reading
If you don’t want to make your own, keep in mind that there are all kinds of pinatas you can buy including pull-string ones that don’t require a bat (good for very young children), and specialized ones like this Disney fairytale princess castle pinata.
Here’s a whole section of articles on about.com on how to make all different kinds of piñatas (Dora the Explorer piñatas, etc.).