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History & Symbolism Behind Mexico's Christmas Piñata

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December 21, 2016

The origin of the piñata comes from the Augustinian friars who tried to teach the natives religion. The original piñata had 7 spikes, one for every deadly sin, and bright colors that represented temptation.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The tradition of the modern piñata is said to have originated at the same time that the Christmas inns were originated in Acolman de Nezahualcóyotl, in the present state of Mexico, near the archaeological zone of Teotihuacán.

In 1586 the Augustinian friars of Acolman received the authorization of Pope Sixtus V to celebrate what was called "Masses of Christmas," which later became the "Posadas" (Mexican Christmas Celebration). It was in these masses that took place in the days before Christmas that the friars introduced the piñata.

They used the piñata as an allegory to help in the efforts to evangelize the people of the region. The original piñata had the shape of a star with seven peaks. The peaks represented the seven deadly sins and the bright colors symbolized the temptations.

The piñata was transformed into a representation of blind faith and virtue or will to overcome sin. The candies and other goodies inside the piñata represented the riches of the kingdom of the heavens, so therefore the teaching that was accompanied by faith and one virtue could overcome sin and receive all the rewards of the heavens.


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