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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Mexico series at SpanishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential cultural information about Mexico, Mexican Culture, and Mexican People. In this lesson, we’re going to learn about popular Mexican holiday traditions. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 4 - Piñatas and Pastorelas
During the winter holiday season "Piñatas" and "Pastorelas" are always part of the fun. Of course, piñatas are popular almost everywhere! Batman, Mickey Mouse, Homer Simpson, Donkeys, Dogs, all shapes and colors get broken on birthdays, children's parties and during Las Posadas celebrations.
For those who may not know what they are, piñatas are containers made of pottery or paper, decorated and filled with fruits and candies during the Posadas. As the pilgrims Mary and Joseph finish singing the litany, they are invited to spend the night, but rather than the traditional hymn, many people will substitute the lyrics… “I do not want gold, nor I want silver. What I want is to break the piñata." The piñatas used during the winter holidays are different from those of regular birthday parties; they must have seven corners, a corner per each cardinal sin, or "pecado"—lust, greed, sloth, gluttony, wrath, envy, and pride.
In its origins, breaking the piñata meant destroying the sins and the malignant influence of Satan, in Spanish el "diablo". The fruit and treats that are put inside the piñata symbolized the blessings which come from destroying the evil, or "maldad", personified in the piñata.
Likewise, during the December season the "Pastorelas", or Shepherds' Plays are traditionally held. These are short theatrical representations generally of the humorous kind, where Good faces off with Evil. The Good, most often, is represented by the Archangel Gabriel, and Evil, by the Devil. The devil, disguised as a shepherd, cow or lamb, tries to prevent the shepherds from reaching Bethlehem to offer their respect to God, or "diós", who has been born. Those shepherds, tempted by the devil and his followers, are saved by the Archangel Gabriel from the temptations of sin.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever broken a piñata?
Leave a comment telling us at SpanishPod101.com! Until next time!