Piñatas are believed to have originated among the Aztecs, Mayans, and other native peoples of Mexico, who made clay pots in the shape of their gods. The pots were meant to be broken forcefully with poles and sticks, so the contents spilled to signify abundance or favors
from the gods. Historians tell us that during the birthday celebration of the Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli, priests hung a clay pot on a pole in the temple. The pot was adorned with colorful feathers and filled with small treasures like bead ornaments, colorful or painted stones, berries, or nuts. When the pot was broken with a stick the little treasures spilled on the feet of the god as an offering. The Mayans played a game where the central player’s eyes were covered with a cloth while he tried to hit the pot that was suspended by a string. It has also been reported that the Spanish conquistadors brought the piñata practice to Mexico, where it became very popular perhaps due to the similar Mayan tradition of breaking clay pots. Nowadays, piñatas have been adopted in many parts of the world
and have become a more common sight at parties and celebrations, especially in México, Central America and the Southern United States, mostly due to the close influence from Mexican culture.