You might think that the piñata is strictly a Mexican tradition. According to Raúl Musibay, "In Cuba we had our own. They were made with cardboard and colored-paper. We stuffed them with candy and prizes. Many people made them in the shape of American cartoon characters. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were very popular."
"Most of the homemade ones were not as elaborate," Castillo adds. "Something as simple as a cylinder made to look like a drum, or two round boxes made to resemble a cowboy hat."
"I went to a party once where the piñata was a huge white swan -- it was enormous," Musibay says.
All of the children gather around as the adults hoist the piñata above their heads. The mother of the birthday child counts to three and all of the children begin pulling on a ribbon -- pink for girls and blue for boys. One lucky child pulls the magic ribbon, causing the trapdoor to open and all of the candy to fall on the floor.
One nice thing about a Cuban piñata? Because you don't smash the piñata with a bat, you can use the same piñata over and over again.
"No child is ever "left behind" by an errant bat swing to the head," adds the ever ironic Glenn Lindgren.
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