Best time to visit Mexico

Piñata in Mexico

Would you break a colourful doll to get sweets hidden inside? This funny ritual is a part of many Mexican celebrations


It was originally invented as a game for kids: a colourful doll made from a clay pod, and paper mache, and filled up with sweets is suspended from a rope and blind-folded kids are spun around and take turns hitting the doll with a stick until it finally breaks. Sweets fall out of it down onto the ground, and everyone hastily collects the prize.

Today the traditional game grew to be famous among adults, who enjoy its variations during Christmas and other festivities. Christmas piñata dolls featured during las Posadas has the form of a seven-pointed star and symbolises the luminary that appeared in the sky during the night of Nativity, so that three wise men could find the newborn baby Jesus. Colourful dolls also occur in a form of some popular cartoon characters or animals.

Practical info

When was the piñata game invented in Mexico?

Although the piñata game originated in China, it is now associated with Mexico. Spanish Catholic missionaries who arrived in Mexico during the 16th century adopted the game and quickly integrated it into their religious practices. The game is believed to have been used to help convey religious teachings to the indigenous people. Show more

Where can I experience piñata games in Mexico?

The piñata game is played in various parts of Mexico, but some of the most spectacular celebrations occur in big cities like Cancun and Mexico City. These cities have a cultural atmosphere that reflects the unique characteristics and customs of each region. Visiting these cities during festivals is an excellent way to immerse oneself in the traditional Mexican environment. Show more

When is the best time to visit Mexico to witness piñata games during festivities?

If you're interested in seeing piñata games, Christmas and the New Year celebrate should invariably be your preferred period. The period between late December and early January is excellent for experiencing the vibrant and colorful celebrations that Mexico is well-known for. Other notable festivals include the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Carnival, and Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). Show more

What is the significance of the seven-pointed star-shaped piñata during las Posadas?

The las Posadas festival is a nine-day event celebrated in Mexico leading up to Christmas Eve. During this celebration, people break a piñata shaped like a seven-pointed star. Each point of the star is thought to represent one of the seven deadly sins. Breakiñng the piñata signifies 'killing' these sins, with the candy hidden inside representing the rewards for doing so, and thus preparing for Baby Jesus's arrival. Show more

What are some popular variations of piñata games and what do they represent?

Piñata games have many different variations. At Christmas, one of the popular piñata shapes is a donkey or a lamb to represent the livestock in the manger. Animal-shaped piñatas tagged with individual struggles and conditions are carried to represent persevering over adversities. A birthday piñata typically features popular cartoon characters, with the emphasis more on fun than any other symbolic significance. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin