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Star pinata, Piñatas, 2014; Angelica Ortiz; Medford, Massachusetts; paper mache, tissue paper;
Star pinata, Piñatas, 2014
Angelica Ortiz
Medford, Massachusetts
paper mache, tissue paper
Owl piñata; Piñatas; 2014: Medford, Massachusetts; paper mache, tissue paper
Doll piñata; Piñatas; 2014: Medford, Massachusetts; paper mache, tissue paper
Making a piñata at the Lowell Folk Festival; Piñatas; 2014: Lowell, Massachusetts; paper mache, tissue paper
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Angelica Ortiz
Medford, MA
Perhaps you have tried breaking open a piñata at a birthday party, but did you know that this paper mache object has roots in religion?

Angelica Ortiz grew up in Mexico City. She remembers watching her uncles make piñatas each December. During the nine evenings of Advent, people gathered in the street holding candles to walk and sing songs of Las Posadas. Each night a different family hosted a party, which ended with the breaking of a piñata .

Piñata is originally an Italian word meaning clay pot. In Mexico, piñatas are still made with a clay pot interior, rather than a balloon. Angelica credits the Spanish with bringing the tradition of piñatas to Mexico, as a way to help transmit Catholicism. "The piñata was covered in shiny paper and fitted with a seven-peaked star, symbolizing the seven deadly sins. The idea was to break it. Or hit is as hard as possible so evil and the bad sins will be gone. In Mexico, they filled them with fruit and nuts, not candy."

Angelica has found a niche making piñatas for birthday parties. When its time to break the piñata, she sings the song traditionally sung in Mexico. "It's very important.The lyrics indicate 1-2-3 chances at striking the piñata ; once the singing stops, your turn is over."
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