Swing Time: The Pinata at your Quinceanera

Vive el pinata! As a little girl, you might have had a pinata at your birthday celebrations and possibly even at other special times. Now it’s a great way for your Quinceanera guests to have a little old-school fun. Pinatas can make a great activity for just the small children at your fiesta, a special little bit of competition for your chambelanes (or damas!) and even something the whole crowd can enjoy.

Pinatas has grown with the times, too, becoming more elaborate and stylish as audiences grow more sophisticated. They’re not just shaped like burros anymore, either! The latest and most fashion-forward pinatas can meet a variety of Quinceanera celebration motifs. Some pinata manufacturers make pinatas of everything from dragonflies to elephants. One pinata artist even built a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

The history of the pinata

Pinatas have a long and elegant tradition steeped in the celebrations of everyday people. The pinata started in Mexico, and may date back to the ancient Aztec empire. The earliest kinds were probably clay pots built to please the rain god Tlaloc, and were filled with water rather than candies or toys. Another version has the first pinatas built to appease the war god Huitzilopochtli. As Mexico gradually converted to Catholicism, these rituals were phased out but the pinata remained as a fun way to celebrate festivals and special events.

More recently, the pinata became popular in the United States during the early 1980s. Many American grocery stores and party supply outlets still carry them on a regular basis.

What kind of pinata is right for you?

The ideal pinata will express and accent your Quinceanera celebration theme or design motif. This can be accomplished with its shape or even just by having a matching color scheme.

You might want to specialty order you pinata if you’d like something a little unusual than what’s available in local stores. Mexican grocery stores may carry something a little more off the beaten path. There are also stores in Mexico and Central America, called pinaterias, that sell their merchandise online.

Do you have to break the pinata?

Actually, no you don’t! A new kind of pinata called a pull-ribbon pinata allows you to keep the custom pinata as a souvenir of your Quince celebration. The pinata is rigged with several ribbons, which guests pull. Only one ribbon will pull a trap door set inside the pinatas bottom, however. When the ribbon is pulled, the gifts inside rain down – but the pinata itself is safe and in one piece.

The pull-ribbon technique is a great alternative for children playing indoors, and for older Quince fiesta guests who might not feel comfortable swinging a stick. And of course, it saves the pinata itself. You can modify any pinata to the pull ribbon approach in just a few short steps, too.

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