Today in My History

2000:  The Tooth, the Whole Tooth
2001:  No entry--in England
Is there a Full Moon?
Did You Ever Know that You're My Hero?
Gimme a Glass of Herbal Tea and Leave Me Alone
It Changed My Life
Family Project
2007: Loss of Innocence
2008:  A Cup of Peanut butter Cookies
2009:  Mothers Day
2010:  The First Interview
2011:  In Search of a Slow Boat in China
2012: Goodbye Forever, Goodbye
2013: Changes Keep Coming
2014: The Changes Keep Coming
2015: Naps for All
2016: Hurriedier
2017: A Rose is a Rose
2018: The Big Wedding
2019: Saturday 9
Mothers Day
2021: Mothers Day

Books Read in 2022
 Updated 5/8
"Earth Abides"
George Stewart
(book #23 in 2022)

My family

Bev's 65 x 365

Books Read in 2022
Books Read in 2021
Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

Cast (updated 7/21)


Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Pi�ata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev


11 May 2022

Piatas have been a huge part of our family history...and we even have a  Pi�ata Group named because when we got together with our 22 children, there was always a piata. We had a pi�ata at Jeri's wedding, and at at least one funeral.

Pinata at our friend Concetta's funeral

 I found the history of the piata today.

It Originated in China

Today, the Pi�ata is a staple at many celebrations and plays a particularly central role in Mexican fiestas. You may think of it as just a simple object, but it has a surprisingly fascinating history! The pi�ata is thought to have originated over 700 years ago in Asia. Specifically, the Chinese used to fashion paper-covered animals to celebrate the New Year. They decorated paper-covered animals (which included cows, oxen, and buffalos) with colorful harnesses and other trappings. Then, they filled the figures with seeds and knocked them with sticks until the seeds spilled out. Afterwards, the remains were burned; the ashes were thought to bring good luck in the coming year. It is thought that Marco Polo discovered this Chinese practice and introduced it to the Western world.

It Became Part of Lenten Traditions in Europe

In the 14th century, the pi�ata entered Europe and was quickly adapted to the Christian season of Lent. The first Sunday of Lent was known as �Pi�ata Sunday� � the name comes from the Italian word pignatta, meaning �fragile pot,� because early European pi�atas resembled clay pots. When the custom spread from Italy to Spain, the first Sunday in Lent there became known as the �Dance of the Pi�ata.� The Spanish fiesta featured a clay container called la olla (the Spanish word for pot); originally, it was not decorated, but over time decorations like tinsel, ribbon, and fringed paper were added.

Indigenous Peoples Had Their Own Version

When Spanish missionaries travelled to the Americas, they used the pi�ata to attract crowds and attention at their ceremonies. However, the indigenous peoples already had their own tradition that was similar; to celebrate the birthday of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, Aztec priests put a clay pot on a pole in the temple at the end of each year. The clay pot was decorated with feathers and filled with small treasures. When broken with a stick, the treasures would fall at the god�s feet as an offering. The Mayans also played a sport where a player�s eyes would be covered and they would have to try to hit a hanging clay pot.

Missionaries Gave It Religious Meaning

The missionaries transformed these indigenous traditions for the purpose of religious instruction. They covered the traditional pot in colored paper so that it appeared different (and perhaps even scary) to the local peoples. The original pi�ata features seven points; the missionaries used these to symbolize the Seven Deadly Sins in Christianity: envy, sloth, gluttony, greed, lust, anger/wrath, and pride. (There is also a traditional ten-pointed pi�ata, which missionaries said symbolized the sins that come from breaking the Ten Commandments.) The missionaries said that the stick used to break the pi�ata represented love. The stick, representing love, destroyed the pi�ata, which represented sins and temptation, thus imparting a religious lesson. Some people also say the pi�ata was meant to represent Satan. The treats (usually candies and fruits) that fell out of the broken pi�ata were said to represent God�s forgiveness of sins and a new beginning. Another interpretation holds that the fruits represented temptations and earthly pleasures, while yet another holds that the sharing of the fruits and candies represented a reward for keeping the faith � a share in divine blessings and gifts.

It Remains Popular Today

Today, the pi�ata has lost most of its religious meaning. Instead of being used as tool to teach the Christian catechism, it is simply a fun pastime at celebrations. It�s especially popular at Mexican fiestas and is used to mark special holidays, such as Christmas and Cinco de Mayo. It�s also popular at children�s parties, and many commercially available pi�atas are made in the likeness of beloved children�s characters.


Even the adults hit the piatas.


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