As we wind down the holidays, we’re reflecting on the meaning behind so many Mexican traditions. One of them is the traditional Mexican 7 spike piñata used in posadas, which like so many other items in Mexican culture, has religious origins. Catholic Spanish colonizers needed tools to convert the newly enslaved indigenous populations, many of whom still spoke their native tongues, so they came up with other ways to communicate their dogma without having to convey it in speech.
What is now the colorful and fun piñata with 7 spikes was one of the ways they solved their language barrier. For the Catholic church, symbolism was a tried and true method for conveying their Catholic teachings since they were already accustomed to proselytizing to illiterate poor Europeans.
With the piñata, each spike stands for a different deadly sin: pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. The beating of the piñata? The blindfold? All those familiar steps have specific meanings that have now all largely been lost, but the tradition continues nonetheless.
Being blinded means blind faith in God. And what’s inside the piñata represents the rewards of actually staying faithful.
The Famous Piñata Beating
The beating of the piñata represents winning against all the temptations and sins.
The candy inside is the reward of the courageous act of just saying no to sin. It’s a celebration of yourself beating the sins and the reward from God that descends from above. Literally, like candy falling from the sky.
Next time you’re being rained on with candy, remember to be grateful for the moment. Religious or not, there’s nothing like that mad dash for the candy after a successful beat down of a piñata.