There is more to learning a language than just studying vocabulary and grammar. Learning the culture where the language is spoken makes the process more meaningful and in addition, making something creative with your hands is memorable and fun! Before we reached the end of the 2019-2020 term, our year 7 students learned about the history of piñatas and created their own in their Spanish class.
One of the theories is that piñatas have originated in China (where paper comes from). Marco Polo is believed to have passed this custom on to Europe in the 14th Century. When he brought it to Europe, he used the Italian word “pignatta” meaning "cooking pot". When the Spanish missionaries arrived in America, the spelling was adapted to Spanish. However, Mayans already had a very similar tradition to celebrate the birthday of the Aztec god of war with a colorful clay pot filled with little treasures that people would strike with a stick. Therefore, the combination of the Chinese and Mayan traditions led to what the piñata is today.
Our piñatas were made using mostly recycled materials, such as cardboard boxes, newspapers, and coloured paper.
In total, the whole process took students between two and three lessons, and the models chosen had different levels of difficulty.
Our students enjoyed the making and the breaking of piñatas too!