Cultura

Problematic piñatas, revisited

I just got back from the park where I didn’t buy a raspado (thanks to those who gave me reasons not to in the comments to the previous post). I did toss around a basketball with a few friends from school. I’m not very good at basketball. In fact, I’m pretty sure I suck. Still, I played HORSE with three others. The only shot I made was a lay-up. Ouch. I was the first one out.

When we got back to the picnic benches, I noticed our neighbors standing under a tree. They’d tied a red fire engine on a rope and hooked it around a branch. They dangled it in front of a two-year old boy holding a stick. He tenderly pushed and poked at the fire engine piñata while a dozen adults stood around and snapped pictures. With the exception of two other boys too young to be out of their mother’s arms, he was the only child present. It was a little strange. I’ve never seen such a lonely piñata. I’m much more accustomed to seeing at least a dozen kids lined up ready to smack the candy out of a piñata. Those who have already had their chance at hitting the piñata stand on the perimeter — held back by worried adults — ready to run in at the first sign of flying Tomy candies.

The little blonde boy never hit the piñata hard enough to break it and draw out candy. He did try to kick it, but who ever was holding the other end of the rope moved it out of the way. The adults pulled him away and a man (his dad?) started tearing the fire engine apart. The boy didn’t like that.

“Wow, he looks kinda traumatized,” noted one friend. “He’s not happy.”

“He’s probably confused. He’s thinking, dad, I thought you told me not to destroy my toys,” said another.

“I think piñatas are a bit problematic,” I stated and summarized the reasons I mentioned in a post from the old blog circa April 2005:

I can say this because I'm Mexican...

I have a problem with piñatas at birthday parties.

I realized this as I was looking through the pictures (click to view as a slideshow) I took at my nephew’s first birthday party on Saturday. My cousin, Tony, and his wife, Ingrid, had Elmo decorations up all over the house. I assume that Anthony, the baby, has an affinity for Elmo.

Anthony vs. la Piñata

So, what do they do? They buy two Elmo piñatas. And then what happens? They fill the piñata with candy, line kids up, give one a stick and blindfold her, and then let her loose against the image of Elmo.

Valerie battles the white piñata

Anthony barely noticed that the guests at his party were beating the crap out of his beloved Elmo. I’m sure if he would have been paying attention instead of having his diaper changed he would have been horrified.

So, first kids beat up a piñata in the image of a character they like, and then they feast on candy and play with piñata innards.

Moral of the story? If you hit something with a stick enough times, you’ll be rewarded with candy. Twisted!

Standard

7 thoughts on “Problematic piñatas, revisited

  1. i completely agree with the twisted mentality of the piñata. poor kids and then we wonder why they are so violent.
    on the other hand, I haven’t had a tomy in years…. gotta get back to east los and push the kids away from the piñata so that i can grab a couple of them.

  2. The real question is how you remember what you blogged about over three years ago. I don’t even remember what I wrote three weeks ago. Are you going to read The Virgin of Flames?

  3. It’s part of our inherent cultural celebration of death. If you love something, beat it up, if it gives you candy, it’s yours forever.

  4. I have always had a problem with them myself. I always thought they were mean and meant to embarass kids. The Phi has never had a pinata and I don’t believe has ever hit one either.

  5. I remember thinking the same thing watching my nephew beating Thomas the Train at his birthday after just having taken a picture with him hugging it…

  6. I’m so glad you wrote this. As a child, I hated piñatas. I thought they were violent. I was very small for my age and I hated when the candy fell and kids started pushing each other out of the way to get the candy.

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