Today I found some of our photos from a real Guatemalan piñata. I say real, because what I’ve experienced in Canada seems like such a watered-down, antiseptic version of what I remember as real birthday-bash piñatas from my childhood in Guatemala.
Numero 1: Real piñatas are WAY cooler down there….the actual thing made out of paper that you hit with a stick…they are very cleverly made out of wire and newspaper and tons of tissue paper. (Usually with almost like several “compartments” where candy can get caught and hidden, like in the appendages of the character, which makes for more of a surprise when you are beating the thing open). They are usually large and you can get any figure or character imaginable, or just get a custom made one. Most of them are larger than the birthday child, and some are as big as an adult. What I have encountered of piñatas in Canada: they are small, overpriced cardboard boxes, with tiny bits of tissue paper glued on and are almost impossible for little kids to break with a broomstick, hammer or hockey stick.
Numero 2: Real piñatas are exciting and dangerous. Someone usually ends up crying from being clunked on the head. Kids are let loose to grab all the candy they can, by means fair or foul. The piñatas I’ve been to here (admittedly, most of which I was hosting) tend to be more “fair” with Moms evenly dividing out the candy afterwards….heh heh, and making sure no one gets clobbered. I’ve heard that in Mexico piñatas can still be made out of clay pots…that would definitely add an element of danger, with shards flying into the group of children!
Numero 3: Real piñatas have sophisticated rope systems for maneuvering the piñata so it can fly all over the place, and come barging up on the blindfolded child from the side or behind. It was fun to watch how the dads all get into the “hanging of the piñata” and know exactly how to set it all up for the most mobility, with several well-place ropes. Needless to say, here I’ve even seen a piñata hang stationary from a nail….(ok, it helps that Guatemala is the Land of Eternal Spring, so there’s always great weather for outdoor piñatas, while here, half the year we have to have them inside the house….basement…..you get the picture).
Numero 4: Real piñatas are parties. In Spanish you can say you are “going to a piñata” and that gives you the whole idea: party, cake, candy-grabbing, stick-swinging fun.
Here are a few shots of the fun Guatemalan piñata we attended at Christmastime:
Yay Hello Kitty! oh look, 2 piñatas!!Getting to know the ropes….ropes on both sides so 2 people control the motion, pulling it back and forth so it slides on the main rope…Blindfolds are not always worn, though when we were little, they were, plus, you were spun around several times ’till you were nice and dizzy (before being attacked by the flying piñata!)starting with the youngest…swing baby swing!funny how they stick their tongues out for more precise hitting!good thing there was a lot of beating in those piñatas, so that even the big kids got a chance to swing!
I wasn’t sure how my kids were going to fare in the free-for-all I knew was coming….I guess that’s what comes of always having PC, tame piñatas orchestrated for you by your mommy….so I kinda watched interestedly to see what they would do….but it wasn’t one of my kids, but my little nephew who was the first casualty…he was over it quickly and jumped right back into the fray…then we had some yummy cake and cupcakes, made by the birthday girl’s aunt…..And some bouncy castle fun!It was a great party!! And I was pleased that my kids did well at their first Guatemalan Piñata!!
(disclaimer: only slight exaggerations have occurred in this post)