By guest blogger Angie of At Home In Mexico
"Mexico is a country with various cultures mixed
together. The original native people were the Aztecs
and Mayas. They had their customs and traditions.
When Christopher Columbus arrived to the new continent
(America), many Spaniards came and stayed. They
brought their own customs and traditions. So what
happened? The customs got mixed together and
new customs appeared.
The Piñata is a product of two similar traditions. The
Aztecs would decorate clay pots in the shape of their
gods. Inside they would put fruits and nuts, and when
they broke them, the spilling fruits represented
The Spaniards had seen a similar custom in China in
which cardboard figures were hung and hit to spill out
bananas for New Year's good luck.
So the two customs got together, and became the Piñata
we know today. The traditional Piñata has seven spikes
which represent the seven capital sins. The colorful paper
represents temptation. The fruits and candy inside
represent the rewards you recieve when you overcome
temptation and do not sin. That is why Mexican Piñatas
are so hard to break!! You have to work hard to
get your reward.
How to Make a Mexican Piñata
Tissue paper (any color)
Engrudo (see recipe below)
Metallic paper (even aluminum foil works)
Paintbrush (it can also be done with your fingers)
juice from 1 lime
½ cup all purpose flour
Almost nobody in Mexico uses normal white glue
for this project. The paste is homemade, and
done the following way:
Pour the flour into the boiling water.
Stir constantly (I use a whisk)until you have a
medium thick consistency. Try to break down the
bigger lumps, but small lumps are not a problem.
Pour in the lime juice. Let the paste cool before using.
It will thicken as it cools. It shouldn’t be watery, but
if it gets too thick, add more hot water and stir.
If you do not want to use this paste, you can use
normal white glue. Just water it down a bit.
Take your time with this craft. It can take 1 to 2 hours
to make this. But if you have helping hands,
it is much easier.
Paste cut up newspaper pieces onto pot. It is easier to
brush (or use fingers) to put engrudo (or white glue)
onto pot, and then apply paper. After it is
completely covered, let it dry.
Meanwhile make 4 cones. There is not a fixed size
for this. It all depends on the pot. Mine is small,
so my cones are small.
Take poster board (even cereal box cardboard can be
used!) and roll to make cone. Keep in place with tape.
Cut bottom so it is even. Cut 1 cm. nicks all around
the base of the cone. Do this with all four cones.
Cut long strips of tissue paper. These will be put
at the tip of each cone. Paste to the tip and then
cover the cones with metallic paper. This paper can
be taped onto the cone. Set aside.
Cut long strips of tissue paper. Probably 5 cm. wide
would be OK. Fold in half lengthwise. Again, nick
the whole length of tissue paper strips. When done,
open the strips and turn around so you have a
strip with a rounded edge (something like what is
put on turkey drumsticks for Thanksgiving).
Cut 2 round (or oval, depending on the shape of the
pot) pieces of metallic paper, and paste onto
the front and back of the pot.
Now paste the cones with the engrudo (or watered
down white glue) to the newspaper covered pot. The
nicks at the bottom help the cone keep in place
while pasting. Wait a few minutes for the
paste on the cones to set.
Now carefully take the turned out pieces of
tissue paper, and start pasting them around
the base of each cone. Layer one strip slightly
below the first, and go on working towards the
body of the pot till you get to the metallic paper
you pasted before. Again, apply paste to pot,
and then put paper on the paste,
it’s much easier this way.
Put a layer of tissue paper making a round
shape around the metallic front and back of
the pot. There will be some empty spaces.
Cut tissue paper circles, put your finger
in the middle of each circle and wrap the
paper around your finger. Dip the center
into the engrudo and paste it into
the empty spaces.
And you are finished!! If you are going to
actually use the piñata (break it) wait at least
a day for it to dry, if you don’t, it won’t break
properly (and you’ll have a mess).
What is put into Mexican Piñatas? The big,
Christmas Piñatas will have oranges, tangerines,
sugar canes, peanuts, and some candy. Birthday
Piñatas have candy and small toys.
The children take turns to hit the piñata while
everybody else sings a song about taking
aim to hit the piñata. Hope you enjoy
making one of these yourself!
Mexicans love fruit water. They will make fruit
water with almost anything, even flowers!! The
Jamaica is a flower similar to the hibiscus.
It is plucked and dried, and sold in the
market by weight.
To make the water all you have to do is add the
dried flowers to boiling water, let it boil a while
longer, and then strain. The water will be very
concentrated so once it is cool more water is
added and some sugar.
It is served in a glass pitcher with lots
of ice. Perfect for warm days!!
Here we love Tostadas because it can be
made with anything. Our favorite (and easiest)
recipe is as follows:
•add some sour cream
•put slices of ham on top
•add shredded lettuce
•add some sliced onion
On top of everything you can add some Jalapeño
peppers or the salsa of your choice.
What else can you add? Tomatoes, shredded
carrots, cooked chicken, anything you want!!
Mexico is brought to you by Angie of
At Home In Mexico. Angie is a mother to two
sons and is a teacher in Guanajuato Mexico. A
visit to her blog is like a virtual trip to Mexico!
Check out this post for a trip to a candy factory
and this one about shoe shopping in Léon. You
can see pictures of her travels around the country
such as this series of San Miguel de Allende (one
of my favorite places) and lots more great
recipes such as pozole verde and quesadillas.
If you have any questions about Mexico
please leave them in the comments in the
next few days and Angie will answer them!
Links of Interest:
Mexico at Wikipedia
Mexico at The World Factbook