National Piñata Day Date in the current year: April 18, 2024

National Piñata Day If you want to kill two birds with one stone – let off come steam and enjoy delicious candy – you should celebrate National Piñata Day. This amazing holiday was created to honor colorful containers filled with candy that are primarily associated with Mexican culture.

A piñata is a decorated container, typically made of papier-mâché or clay, that is filled with candy, hung on a string, and then broken as part of a celebration such as a birthday party, Cinco de Mayo, or Christmas. Piñatas are commonly associated with Mexico and Hispanic communities in the United States, but it is believed that they originated in China.

The Chinese version of the piñata was made for New Year celebrations. It was shaped like an ox or cow, filled with five types of seeds, and decorated with auspicious colors and symbols meant to produce a favorable growing season. During the celebration, the container was hit with sticks of various colors until it broke, the remains were burned, and their ashes were saved for good luck.

The tradition was brought to Europe sometime in the 14th century, where it became associated with Lent. The term piñata is Spanish but it derives from the Italian word pignatta, which means “earthenware cooking pot”. Early piñatas were plain clay containers that were broken on the First Sunday of Lent. Eventually it became customary to decorate them with colored paper, tinsel, and ribbons.

In the 16th century, the Spaniards brought piñatas to what is now Mexico, where Christian missionaries used them to supplant a similar local tradition associated with the birthday of the Aztec god Huītzilōpōchtli, celebrated in December. Priests would fill a clay pot with offerings and decorate it with colorful feathers. The pot would then be broken with a club or stick, and the offerings would fall to the feet of Huītzilōpōchtli’s idol.

In 1586, Augustinian monks obtained a Papal bull stating that a period of extended prayers should be observed throughout Mexico during the nine days preceding Christmas (novena). So the monks started a tradition named Las Posadas, which included prayers, reenactment of Nativity, and piñata smashing. Those early piñatas were star-shaped, symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem.

Over time, piñatas have lost their religious significance. Today, they come in many shapes and sizes, although star-shaped piñatas are still popular during the Christmas season. Piñatas are typically used for a fun activity at all kinds of parties and celebrations.

National Piñata Day was created in 2016 by American artist, illustrator, blogger and DIY enthusiast Amy Watkins in her blog Cozy Reverie. Upon realizing that there wasn’t yet a holiday dedicated to “the number one party prop”, Watkins decided to create one, and the rest is history.

Of course, the best way to celebrate National Piñata Day is to buy a piñata, fill it with candy or other fun prizes, put it up, and beat it until it breaks and showers you with prizes. If you’re crafty, you can make your own piñata; it’s not as hard as it may seem, and there are plenty of online tutorials that can help. Don’t forget to take the “before” and “after” photos of your piñata and post them on social media with the hashtags #NationalPiñataDay and #PiñataDay to spread the word about the holiday.

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National Piñata Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, piñata, Mexican culture