In anticipation of the annual pre-Christmas Posadas, Mexican-American families gathered to make piñatas at St. Rose of Lima Church on Sunday. Father Jim Manship sent in the following write-up and these photos:
A “piñatero” is a person who makes piñatas. One such piñatero, Faustino Estrada, was called “el maestro” by parishioners of St. Rose of Lima during a series of “talleres “ or workshops he led Sunday.
Faustino guided parishioners through the several steps required to produce a piñata: from the three layers of paper mache around a balloon, the attachment of the seven cones, and to adorning the piñata with various colors of tissue paper.
Once completed, the piñatas will be filled with candy.
The piñatas are being prepared for St. Rose of Lima observance of the Posadas (lodgings), the nine days before Christmas which commemorate Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to for Jesus to be born. For many parishioners of St. Rose of Lima, the Posadas are poignant reminders of happy memories of their family and friends, the shared experiences of finding oneself in an inhospitable environment, like the Holy Family, and the blessings that come when hospitality is offered and accepted.
Spanish missionaries to the continent used the piñata as a way of teaching about sin, its allure, and when we give welcome to Jesus, how he can liberate us from our attraction to sin.
The brilliant colors and seven cones represent the seven deadly sins of greed, wrath, envy, gluttony, laziness, lust, and pride. After prayers, a procession, and the serving of customary food and drinks, typically children (but even adults like to) will take turns to try to break open the piñata. The stick represents the power Jesus gives us to break the attraction to sin. Those who persevere (even though made from paper mache, one has to work at breaking them open) in this struggle over sin are “rewarded” with the sweets that fall to the ground.
The Posadas begin on Dec. 16 and end on Dec. 24 with community celebration of Christmas Eve Mass.