Every culture has its own traditions: songs, celebrations, and clothing. When travelling, I try to soak in as many of these traditions as possible. They help me understand what life is like for the people living in that country. Luckily, México is full of traditions.

Almost every celebration in México includes the breaking of a piñata. They’re fun to swing at and filled with candy! But, where did piñatas come from?

Piñatas arrived in the New World with the Spanish in the 16th century. Many believe that the Spanish used them as Catholic religion teaching tools. The original shape was a star with seven points. Each point represented a deadly sin. Whacking the piñatas with a stick symbolized striking away evil and sin, and the candy inside represented the rewards of heaven.

Today, piñatas come in many different shapes, but the traditional stars are still popular designs around Christmas time.

Another important tradition is the Quinceañera. The word quinceañera comes from the Spanish words quince, which means fifteen and anos, which mean years. It celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday and marks the start of her adult life.

The quinceañera is similar to a sweet sixteen and a little like prom. It is both a religious event and a social event. The religious portion is a church Mass or prayer ceremony for the girl and her family. The social event is usually a large banquet or fiesta to celebrate the day.

It all starts with the dress. The color of a girl’s dress determines the theme and style of her party. Everything from the invitations to the decorations centers around this one piece of clothing.

What are some of traditions in your family?