A homemade video made the rounds of Facebook recently, showing a boy of two years engaging with a piñata fashioned in a vaguely human form, bigger than the toddler. At first he bats at the piñata, but without vigor, and seems to not care when the stick is soon taken from him and handed to an husky older boy. As he is letting go of the stick he is already headed toward the paper-maché man (the caption said it was Spiderman) to wrap him in a long, seemingly apologetic hug, his head on its shoulder.

This was all very sweet, but the response of the crowd of adults surrounding him pained me terribly — they only laughed and laughed. I thought of that scene when I read this poem from Mexico.


In the night,
while we were asleep,
the birthday piñata
fell out of the tree
like an overripe fruit,
spilling all the candy.
We were happy
we did not have to break it
as it was a yellow lion
in a green hat.

-Jennifer Clement

translated by Consuelo de Aerenlund

from The Tree is Older Than You Are, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye

pinata 81
piñata I made back when

10 thoughts on “Piñata

  1. I believe that might be Humpty Dumpty – yes? It reminds me of a paper-maché marionette I made in grade school. All I remember is that she had yellow hair, and was quite a dancer.

    The story of the little boy is touching. Perhaps the adults could profit from a reading of the poem.


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