Pinata Casa — History of Pinatas

History of Pinatas

You may not know it, but pinatas have a fascinating and ever evolving history.  What we know today as a fun party activity has a long history that overlaps many cultures and centuries. Although the pinata's exact origin may not be known, it certainly has made it's mark on a multitude of nations and countless generations.

Legend dates pinatas back to the 14th century in China.  It is said that Chinese farmers would create replicas of farm animals, such as cows and buffalo, out of clay pots to celebrate the new year.  They would decorated their figures with color paper and use them in ceremonies to ensure a fruitful harvest.

As world traveling blossomed, it's believed that Marco Polo discovered this Chinese tradition and passed it on to the Europeans. Later, Spanish missionaries actually used pinatas as a religious tool to connect with the Aztec Indians and share their beliefs.  They were used to help convert people to Christianity by making the pinata out of clay pots, known as canteros, and covering them in colorful paper and with seven cones. Today's traditional star pinata gets it's origins from this particular pinata shape. The Aztec Indians adopted the ceremony as a way to worship to the Aztec God of War, Huitzilopochtli.  This ceremony involved a priest placing a colorfully decorated clay pot on a pole in the temple at year’s end and filling it with treasures. When the pot was broken, the treasures fell to the feet of the God’s image. This represented an offering of gifts to the God.  Over time, the natives adapted the use of pinatas to their own religious ceremonies; the well known holiday of La Posada.


With all of the fun and imagination that comes with a pinata design, it is no wonder that uses of pinatas eventually unfolded in to a party centerpiece.  Today, pinatas come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Custom pinatas can be made, making them extra special and unique for your particular event.  In some places, they are still used as part of a religious ceremony, but they are widely used for nonreligious gatherings as well.   Birthdays, company parties, bridal showers, baby showers and even Super Bowl parties are just a few great examples of when a pinata is the perfect addition.  Pinatas are fun for children, fun for adults, and add a special touch to any occasion.

They may have started out centuries ago, but the tradition still goes strong.  A pinata can make any get together a “breaking” good time.