Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Adventure Continues

Been having some computer troubles, so no photos today but hopefully I'll get that worked out soon.  The week has gone by quickly with 7 hours of Spanish class everyday including a fascinating lecture each afternoon of the history of the Christmas traditions in Mexico.  Today we learned about piñatas which originated in China where they were representations of animals containing seeds that were burnt at the new year and the ashes were gathered up by the onlookers to bring good luck.  Marco Polo discovered this custom and took the idea back to Italy where it picked up its religious connotations. 

When the evangelists came to Mexico they discovered a game of the Mayans in which they filled a pottery bowl with chocolate and wore a blindfold while trying to break the pot. This game was combined with the pignatta of Italy into what are now the traditional piñatas of Mexico.  They are made from a pottery bowl filled with candy (originally fruit) and covered with papier mache.  Seven protruding cones each representing one of the seven deadly sins are decorated in shiny paper to represent their desirability.  The stick used to break the piñata represents the power of Christ, the blindfold the blindness of faith and the treasure and treats inside the grace of God.

Those clever Christians were constantly inventing these combinations of pagan and Christian ritual to draw in the indigenous peoples to the church and they have succeeded.  Now people do piñatas in many forms for all sorts of occasions.  But still at Christmas they are the culmination of 9 nights of Posadas where groups of folks tour their towns in a representation of Mary and Joseph looking for an inn, the last night is Christmas eve, or Noche Buena and that is when the piñatas are broken.

When my computer is back on line I hope to post some more photos but for now suffice it to say, I´m having a big time, last night I sampled tequila served wth a chaser of tomato juice in a glass with ground chile on the rim.  Muy Saboroso!  Hasta Luego Amigos

1 comment:

C. Kay said...

fascinating history, thanks!