A colorful donkey pinata, made from chenille stems, is pictured above. [Featured image by Lucy Santos]

A colorful donkey pinata is the perfect craft to make to observe Cinco de MayoPinatas, which traditionally began in the town of Mexico City, are used to celebrate many holidays in Mexico such as Christmas, Cinco de Mayo and many other festive occasions.  In Mexico and the United States, pinatas are also popular for a child’s birthday.  Made from paper mache, birthday pinatas come in an assortment of styles, and there are even Disney pinatas as well.  Pinatas are filled with sweets, and children hit the pinata with a stick to release the goodies.

As a child, I attended some parties where they had pinatas.  One of the pinatas that caught my attention the most was the donkey pinata.  I decided to make a colorful donkey pinata because it is my favorite pinata.  For this project, you will need chenille stems, assorted tinsel stems, glue, scissors and googly eyes. 

The first step is to make the body of your donkey.  You can choose any color for your donkey as pinatas cone in many different colors.  Make a circle to form the lower body of the horse and make four circles for the legs.  Then you will mold the body and legs into a tube shape.  Attach the legs to the lower body of the donkey.  After attaching the legs, you will fill in the legs and the lower body with chenille stems.

Making a second circle for the upper body of the donkey is the second step of this project.  Attach the circle of the lower body to the upper body of the donkey.  Fill it in with chenille stems.  Make sure it stands firmly.

The third step of this project is to make the head and neck of the donkey.  Make a circle for the donkeys head and then form two lines, with chenille stems, to create the neck.  Attach the face and neck of the donkey to the upper body.  Fill in the face and neck of the donkey with chenille stems.

Creating the donkeys ears is the fourth step of this project.  Take two pieces of chenille stems to create two shapes molded like two long leaves.  Fill in the donkeys ears with chenille stems and attach them to the donkeys head.

The fifth step of this project is decorating the colorful donkey pinata, which will most likely be the best part of this project.  Use the assorted tinsel chenille stems to embellish your donkey.  Start by decorating the legs of your donkey.  Make the donkey’s muzzle lively by wrapping chenille stems around it.  Make two small leaf shapes, with tinsel chenille stems, and attach them to the donkey’s ears.  Make a square shape for the saddle and fill it in with different colors of tinsel chenille stems.  The final decoration will be adding googly eyes to the donkey’s face.  Give it adequate time to dry.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo to you, for now you have a colorful donkey to ring in the celebration.  The colorful donkey pinata that you made is a part of Mexican culture and artistry.  According to records, the Mexican pinata custom began in the town of Acolman just north of Mexico City.  Even though some people think that Mexicans made the original pinatas, it was the Chinese who actually created the first pinatas.  They made the animal versions of pinatas, which are based on Chinese zodiac, to ring in the Chinese New Year.

In my estimation, Mexicans create the most striking and picturesque pinatas in the world.  Pinatas will certainly add joy, as well as magical elements, in this Year’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  Even though the Mexican Army was much smaller than the French Army, they still won the battle against all the odds.  The biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place in the city of Puebla.  There are many festivals to observe Cinco de Mayo as well as reenactments of the Battle of Puebla.

In the United States, there are also Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  Ever since 1863, there is a big Cinco de Mayo celebration in California.  The Los Angeles Fiesta Broadway is one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  This event includes many vendors who sell souvenirs, collectibles, food and many other unique cultural items.  There is also live Latin music  at Fiesta Broadway.  Since there are many Hispanics in California, this event draws a huge crowd that includes tourists as well.

Due to the COVID pandemic, many Cinco de Mayo events will be postponed.  However, you can still celebrate safely at home by making your colorful donkey pinata that captures the Cinco de Mayo spirit.