Published On: Tue, Aug 6th, 2013

Promoting Healthy Culture: Building A Better Piñata

843743757_70c0f96753_z“Mami Yo Quiero Piñata!”

The child cried as his mother bought supplies for his upcoming birthday and made a decision in the store not to buy a piñata for the party as a gesture of sensitivity for a cousin that will be attending that has type 1 diabetes. I strongly admired the mom for a split moment as I walked away just thinking… what a perfect #PorTuFamilia moment, I just witnessed a young mother making a decision (of many I am sure) that will have a good impact on  this child’s health in the future.

Then something strange happened,my inner Jibaro was sad, thinking to myself… is this yet another cultural custom we have to give up because it is unhealthy?  or Is this one of those situations where we must evolve the culture in order to preserve it?

We cannot lose the piñata! It was my favorite part of every birthday party until I was 12 and it sadly came to an end for me…

90 Giant Pinata Party

For those that may not know… a piñata (Spanish pronunciation: [piˈɲata]) is a container often made of papier-mâché, pottery, or cloth; it is decorated, and filled with small toys or candy, or both, and then broken as part of a ceremony or celebration. Piñatas are most commonly associated with Mexico, but their origins are considered to be in China. The idea of breaking a container filled with treats came to Europe in the 14th century, where the name, from the Italian pignatta, was introduced. The Spanish brought the European tradition to Mexico, although there were similar traditions in Mesoamerica. The Aztecs had a similar tradition to honor the birthday of the god Huitzilopochtli in mid December. According to local records, the Mexican piñata tradition began in the town of Acolman, just north of Mexico City, where piñatas were introduced for catechism purposes as well as to co-opt the Huitzilopochtli ceremony. Today, the piñata is still part of Mexican culture, the cultures of other countries in Latin America, as well as the United States, but it has mostly lost its religious character. (source:wikipedia)

I love my culture so I am all about remixing it to keep it alive… so I went down the aisles of the dollar store and picked up a toys, a pack of small 1 serving raisin, fruit rollups and stickers. I walked over to the young mother and discreetly said to her… you do not have to give up the piñata to keep the kids healthy… just like you make decisions about what they eat, choose healthier options for the pinata for the kids to enjoy. She lit up and told the young boy (his name was Byron) to pick out a pinata and she took the things I had gathered and put them in her cart. She thanked me and told Byron to shake my hand and say thank you. He was so excited as they made their way down to the checkout line. The mom was happy because she was able to preserve both her good intentions and a cultural tradition all in the name of love for young Byron. His party will have a healthier Piñata!

Now this happened on the fly but I wanted to give you a list of suggestions from our followers of healthy piñata fillers that you can buy to make your next child’s party a happy and healthy one!

  • All natural dried fruit snacks
  • Baggies of trail mix / granola
  • Healthy granola bars
  • Yogurt and Applesauce Drinkables
  • Small bags of baby carrots
  • Cheese and Cracker combo packs
  • Little bags of Pretzels
  • Veggie chips / Stix
  • Guanabanas and Quenepas (limoncillos)

Remember… sometimes toys actually trump candy in some piñatas, feel free to take the focus off the food / snacks by adding some of these.

  • Playdoh (who does not love Playdoh?)
  • Assorted Bookmarks
  • Plastic puzzles and word games.
  • Small individually wrapped toys
  • Small boxes of Crayons / coloring books
  • Costume jewelry (rings / bracelets)
  • Small books of stickers / activity books

I will be adding to this list as I get more feedback from you… leave us a comment below with your ideas for a healthier piñata



One last thing… Please Tweet, YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Pin and Post Health Info To Help Save Lives In Our Community #PorTuFamilia

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Promoting Healthy Culture: Building A Better Piñata