Traditional piñata and aguinaldos
By Jade Arroyo
Posadas are popular parties that take place from December 16 to 24. The name refers to the search by Mary and Joseph for a place to stay before the birth of Jesus. These parties are highlights among the December traditions in Mexico.
At first, this event took place in churches and then spread into the streets. Thus, the religious and the profane merged in an original mix of devotion and fun that made a very beautiful and unique celebration.
Jose Cruz “Cuca” and Doña Antonia, from Banquete “Don Mere,” were among the first Sanmiguelenses to collaborate in organizing posadas in times when everything was much simpler, yet more authentic. The streets were filled with many people forming into processions with a great buzz, all singing and dancing, but at the right time they knew to kneel and pray. “Originally, piñatas were made with clay pots, which prevented the fruit from getting smashed while people were hitting the piñata. Aguinaldos did not come in individual bags, but everything was poured into a large vat: candies, biscuits, and fruit, and everyone took a fist full and carried it in aprons, rebozos, or trouser pockets. The piñata is full of symbolism. The traditional piñata has seven peaks representing the deadly sins. It is colorful because sin is attractive; the stick is virtue, and the person is blindfolded—representing blind faith. Finally, sweets and fruit fall from the piñata, representing the reward of evil’s destruction.
The aguinaldos have the same meaning, but they are for the adults and those who did not reach the piñata outbreak. Cuca and Doña Antonia shared the list to fill a piñata and give aguinaldos. You will need the following (spending an average of 150-200 pesos).
½ kg peanuts
4 rods sugar cane cut into pieces
1kg animal cookies
½ colaciónon (traditional sweet of almond covered in sugar-glass)
½ cup sweet mint
Mix all ingredients, fill the piñata with half, and fill the other half with individual paper bags. You can add all kinds of candy, depending on preference.
For the celebration, decorate the house with lights. For the procession, guests must form a line and sing the litany. In front of them must be the people representing the holy pilgrims. Afterwards, participants divide into two groups: the first ask for shelter from outside the house, and the second group is placed inside to respond to songs and give shelter. At the end of the religious ceremony, the aguinaldos will be distributed in paper baskets or bags, in addition to whistles. The most anticipated moment comes when it is time to break the piñata. Once the piñata is broken, a serving of fruit is distributed to each guest. Finally, the celebration will terminate with the entire party group sipping a glass of punch or atole to counter the cold. This will be the ideal complement to the tamales and homemade buñuelos.
Throughout these weeks, there are several Christmas flea markets installed outside Ignacio Ramirez, San Juan de Dios, and near the Garibaldi.