Sunday, December 5, 2010

Making piñatas

Today I met up with members and guests of the Rotaract Club Ciudad de Mexico to make piñatas for a Posada for children at a Casa Hogar (orphanage). Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored service club for young adults ages 18-30. The Ciudad de Mexico club was very welcoming and friendly and I hope to participate in more projects and events with them in the future.

A posada is a traditional Christmas celebration and is meant to represent when Mary and Joseph were searching for a place to stay. There are apparently traditional songs that ask for a place to stay ("pedir posada") which are sung by guests before they are welcomed inside for the party.

Piñatas (yes, those things you hit to break open with candy inside) are a tradition at Posadas and birthdays. The Christmas piñatas originally had seven points to represent the seven sins. Therefore, when the children take turns hitting the piñata, they are trying to break or destroy the seven sins, and there is a celebration (with treats!) when someone is finally able to do so. Christmas piñatas traditionally are filled with fruits, but now candies and toys have become common as well. (Piñatas for birthdays are more likely to be in the shape of cartoons, etc and be filled with candy and toys).

Today we made 6 piñatas -- 5 for the Casa Hogar and 1 for the Club's Posada (though they only have 4 points instead of 7).

So, without further ado, here's (one version of) how to make a piñata:

Step 1:
Cut paper to the appropriate size and fold it into a cone shape.

Step 2:
Cut and fold the edges of the cones. 

Step 3: 
Add tassels (in this case made out of strings of tissue paper) to the tip of the cone and cover the cone in colored paper. 

Step 4: 
Attach the cones to ceramic pots (harder to break, but then the kids all get more turns attempting to break the piñata). We glued the tabs down and then put newspaper strips with a mix of glue/water on top.

Step 5:
Cover the remaining area with tissue paper.

Ta-da! You've now created a piñata! Here they're shown "upside down", but you just have to flip them over and hang them up with the string handle of the pot -- and fill them with treats! 

(Don't forget you have to get the piñata through the door, downstairs, and into a car!)

Making piñatas was a fun, new experience and I enjoyed meeting the members and guests of Rotaract Club Ciudad de Mexico! 

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