There is interesting relation between the history of the piñata and the history of Mexico. At first, what is now known as Mexico was inhabited by various indigenous cultures. These cultures ranged from the Olmec to the Toltec and Aztec, all very organized and powerful tribes. A crucial aspect of the rituals and customs of these very prominent involved accumulating wealth, in the form of gold and precious stones for decoration and social status. In fact, gold had a magical virtue for they thought it had something to do with the sun and with creation. In the words of Mark Cocker, author of Rivers of Blood, of Gold: Europe’s Conquest of Indigenous Peoples, “its magical and untarnishing colour gave it deep associations with the source of all life, the sun” (Cocker, 88). Native Americans where unmatched when it came to working with gold, silver precious stones and feathers. They made replicas of their leaders with such precision, using these materials that still amaze people who are knowledgeable in the craft of jewelry making.
When the Spaniards reached the Mexican territory one can say it was like bursting open a piñata, it is safe to say that the conquest of Mexico was the most important achievement for the Spanish throughout history. Individually, Fernando Cortez obtained “riches, a title of nobility and fame, and the Castilian Crown secured new lands, vassals, and revenue.” To the advantage of country, “The conquest gave substance to the Spaniards’ dreams of finding great wealth in the New World and initiated a frenzy of later expeditions anxious to emulate this remarkable success” (Burkholder and Johnson, 44). Unfortunately, the result for the natives was not a positive one. Since Spaniards brought epidemic disease, depopulation, and made them subject to foreign rulers.
The relation of the conquest described above, piñatas also have a very peculiar history. If one were to ask anybody today to describe a piñata, they would probably... [continua]
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