Hey! We’ve got a great idea. Let’s have a party where we blindfold a bunch of kids and give them big sticks to swing around!

OK, at first that might not seem like that great of an idea. But if you’ve ever played with a piñata at a party, you know how much fun they can be. Let’s learn a little bit more about them!

Piñatas are containers usually made of papier-mâché that look like animals, toys, cars or any of a wide variety of objects. They are usually filled with candy or other treats.

At parties or celebrations, they are hung in the air and children are allowed to swing a stick or bat at them in order to break them open and release the surprises hidden inside. To make things even more fun, the children are often blindfolded when trying to strike the piñata.

Today, piñatas are commonly associated with the culture of Mexico. However, historians believe piñatas got their start in China. Over time, they made their way to Europe, where the Spanish took them to Mexico.

Experts believe the name “piñata” came from the Italian word pignatta, which means “fragile pot.” This would make sense, since early piñatas were made from clay containers for carrying water.

Broken pieces of clay can be quite dangerous, especially to small children. Piñatas eventually came to be made of cardboard and papier-mâché. While piñatas can be made at home using balloons and papier-mâché, most piñatas today are mass-produced in factories and sold in party stores.

Traditional Mexican piñatas are filled with candies and fruits, such as guavas and oranges. Mexican immigrants to the United States brought their traditions involving piñatas with them, and they’re now popular in the U.S., especially at birthday parties and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

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  1. No! :( I was wrong. Today’s wonder of the day is not about candy. However, I loved today’s wonder! :D I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about carrying stuff.

    1 question, why does the picture in the left show the guest icon instead of the Wonderopolis icon? Please reply.

    I won’t be leaving another comment on Wonderopolis until Saturday, May 12, 2012. I think you already know the reason. Take a guess.

    Goodbye, Wonderopolis until Saturday, May 12, 2012! :)

    TJ

    • Happy Sunday, TJ! The picture on the left of your comment (called an “avatar”) shows the guest icon because you’re visiting Wonderopolis! We’ll have to check to find out why the avatar to the left of today’s Wonder number and title is showing the guest icon…thanks so much for pointing that out!

      We hope you have a WONDERful week at school and learn LOTS of great stuff! We’ll talk to you again on the 12th! :-)

    • We think it would be lots of WONDERful FUN, too, Hallie! Just imagine about all the sweet little treats we could fill it with! We WONDER what shape piñata would be the most AWESOME? :-)

    • Hi, Malissa! Thanks so much for your GREAT comment! We’re glad you’re having fun exploring Wonderopolis today…THANKS for being an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

    • That’s an AWESOME guess about tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®, Samantha! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to see if your guess is correct! :-)

    • Hello, Tori! We like that guess for tomorrow’s Wonder! We WONDER about all the things we could “squish” between our fingers…clay would be a fun one of those things! Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks for taking a guess about what tomorrow’s Wonder might be, Abrianna! Your guess is AWESOME! :-)

    • Thank you for visiting this Wonder of the Day® today and sharing your opinion of piñatas with us, Ellen! We appreciate your comment!

  2. I made a paper mache pinata once. It was a big egg for Easter. It was a long messy project, but it was cool. Although, when we tried swinging at it, we made it so tough it wouldn’t bust. So someone swung at it so hard it fell off the hinge and hit the ground and busted.

    • That’s such an AWESOME piñata story, Clayton…THANKS for sharing it with us today! We think it’s so cool that you made your own piñata…way to go! :-)

  3. These wonders are videos on Youtube. When I wanted to watch your feet fall asleep, it gave me a stupid video about a girl. Can you give me more educated videos because these videos aren’t doing anything to help me.

    • Thanks so much for your comment today, Deanna! We’re sorry you don’t care for some of the videos we share with certain Wonders of the Day here in Wonderopolis.

      We search high and low for the best video to go along with each Wonder of the Day®! Sometimes we find the best video on YouTube, but sometimes it might be found on Vimeo or another video library website. Sometimes the video might explain the Wonder topic better, and sometimes we choose a video that just goes along with the Wonder, but doesn’t really explain anything specific…sometimes the videos are just FUN to watch! :-)

    • Hi, Clayton! Thanks for sharing that you were a fan of the chicken piñata in the video for this Wonder of the Day®! We appreciate your comment! :-)

    • We really appreciate hearing that you liked this Wonder, Marina! Thanks for leaving us a comment to let us know! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  •  How do you make a piñata?
  • What are piñatas usually made of?
  • Were piñatas invented in Mexico?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to make your own homemade piñata? With just a few simple supplies and some help from a friend or an adult, you can do it!

Jump online to check out A Piñata For You To Make. You will find a list of supplies you will need, along with detailed instructions.

Just be warned: this project can be a bit messy and might take a couple of days to finish completely. Make sure you get permission to work on the project from an adult and ask them for help with any steps you can’t figure out on your own.

Have fun! When you’re finished, post a picture of your completed piñata on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Still Wondering

Check out Smithsonian’s History Explorer to create your own carnival mask when you explore the The Culture of Puerto Rico: Make Your Own Carnival Mask lesson.

Wonder What’s Next?

You’ll probably want to grab a handful of tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day and squish it between your fingers!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.