As a complement to this open repository, we have carried out an ethnographic and documentary research in two different areas.
On the one hand, a book entitled "Piñatas y Carnaval. Entretejiendo la tradición" which will be published in 2022.
On the other, a scientific article entitled "La piñata. Una aproximación a su carácter ritual en los antiguos carnavales europeos". This article has been published by THOMSON REUTERS-ARANZADI and was presented at the International University Congress on Contents, Innovation and Teaching CUICIID 2021 within the branch of Anthropology through a conference which is reproduced below:
(The full article can be read in La cultura y el humanismo del siglo XXI. Thomson Reuters Aranzadi, 2022)
We present a documentary research that tries to establish the origins of the piñatas in Europe and, its link with the carnival celebration. As well as, to clarify the process by which they went from having significant importance for centuries in Spain, proof of this is that the last Sunday of carnival still maintains the name of Sunday of Piñata, to almost disappear.
Currently very popular in Latin America, especially in Mexico where they are one of its symbols of cultural identity, it is widely known that they arrived there in the sixteenth century with Spanish monks and were used as an evangelizing device.
The objective is to clarify and record their past history. In addition, to demonstrate its value as a totemic ritual element based on a myth. We intend to rescue its original symbolic value.
Regarding the methodology used, due to its scarce presence in Europe today, there are no previous works on the subject. On the Internet we found some literature on the subject, but it is scarce and does not allow us to get to the original sources, which confuses us even more. It has been by reviewing in depth classic texts of anthropology, history and literature, as we have made a triangulation between different sources that have allowed us to establish hypotheses and, above all, to understand its evolution in the Spanish territory.
They arrived in our country from Italy, where, through a syncretism between funeral rites of ancient Greece, oriental festivities of fertility and peasant customs, they were mixed in time. All superimposed arrives in Spain, entangled with liturgical rites of the Middle Ages, resulting in a blindfolded game of popular character for all ages, consisting of, blindfolded, breaking with a stick an earthenware pot shaped like a pineapple, from which candy falls as a gift. Practice that evolved to become, with the rise of the masked balls in the eighteenth century, a rope dance that was held on the last Sunday of carnival in salons and casinos. This transformation reflects the evolution of this celebration, which went from a rural and popular character to a more urban and refined one.
The conclusion we reach is that, like other objects, piñatas have undergone a process of de-ritualization, especially significant after the enormous loss, at all levels, caused by the Civil War. Infantilization and degeneration are characteristics that have taken them from being the hinge element between carnival and Lent, with the weight that this entailed -since it marked the end of the quintessential European festival-, to a simple children's birthday pastime that imitates the shapes of the Disney characters in fashion at any given time. This is a reflection of the drift in which the society of the XXI century is immersed with the loss of its rituals.
Keywords: Piñatas - Carnival - Ritual - Myth - Game