Mexican Piñata Song

The informant is a 47-year old civil engineer working in California, originally from Michoacán, Mexico. He lived a modest life as a young adult, studying to be an engineer. He then moved to the United States with his wife to raise their family and make his career. He primarily speaks Spanish with English as a second language.  He shall be referred to as JB.

“Dale dale dale dale, no pierdas el tino, porque si lo pierdes, pierdes el camino! Dale dale dale dale dale, dale y no le dio! Quítate la benda porque sigo yo!”

“Go go go go, no lose the aim, because if it loses, lose the path! Go go go go, went and no it did! Remove the blindfold because follow I!”

“Go go go go, don’t lose your aim, because if you lose it, you lose the way! Go go go go, he went and didn’t make it! Take off the blindfold because now it’s my turn!”

This is a song commonly sung at parties when small children (or adults that are drunk enough) are hitting at the piñata. The piñata is hung with a rope from a high tree, and an adult holds the rope and pulls it up and down to increase difficulty (depending on the reach and age of the child at bat). The child swings a stick while blindfolded, trying to break the piñata to release the candy inside, at which point all the children swarm around to grab candy. JB explains it is something of a taunting song, but made in good spirits. Every person gets as much time whacking at the piñata as the time it takes to finish the song, thus turning the process into a narrative in and of itself. “Go go go go” refers to actually hitting the piñata, very much the way a catcher might distract someone at bat with a “Hey, batter batter batter” taunt. If the player has not succeeded in taking of the blindfold by the time the crowd reaches the end of the rhyme, they literally take off the blindfold and whoever’s next in line will shot the final “Porque sigo yo!”

I found a sense of democratization in this song. When it is played at a party, there is usually a huge attendance made up of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, other extended relatives, and friends. Thus, there might be a large number of children waiting to play. While JB didn’t relate this with this particular folkgame, he did explain that waiting your turn was a common practice in Catholic families which would include many members. As this is a children’s game, it teaches little ones the importance of sharing and recognizing when it is their turn for something. It also fosters some sense of community, as it is usually an older sibling (around twelve years old) that breaks the piñata so that the smaller children can enjoy the candy, at the same time recognizing the ability and seniority of the older sibling. The line of children to play is usually ordered from youngest in the front, oldest in the back, ensuring that the smaller children get the chance to play before an older child likely succeeds in breaking the piñata. Again, while there is some level of competition between the children to break it, the arrangement of the game reflects adults instilling familial values in the children.