This is part one in a series about the history of piñatas.
From the Orient to Europe
Many historians credit Marco Polo for the bringing the idea for the piñata to Europe. They suggest that he saw the Chinese new year celebrations with figures of brightly decorated animals. He may also have seen the Mandarin tradition where these brightly decorated animals figures would be broken open the sticks and colorful seeds would pour out.
According to early records, Italian and Spanish piñatas would be made of clay pots. These pots would be suspended by a rope and filled with coins, trinkets, candy and fruit wrapped in paper. When the pot was broken the treasures would rain down. In time, the clay pots became more and more elaborate with decorations of colored paper and flowers on the outside of the pot.
Although there is some disagreement between historians as when the piñata was first used in Europe, the first Sunday of Lent became the traditional day for utilizing piñatas.
Next topic: History of the Piñata Part II – the Americas
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