The pinata has early origins in China and was brought to Italy by Marco Polo. The early Spanish missionaries brought it to Latin America, where it was used to attract converts to the church. The indigenous already had a similar tradition of a decorated ceramic vessel on a stick, which was filled with sweets and broken as an offering to the gods. The original pinatas had inner containers made of ceramic.
The star shaped pinata is a traditional design. Later, thin strips of reeds, bamboo or wire were bent and covered with paper to create all kinds of forms. In Latin America, sometimes there will be multiple pinatas at a party, with the first pinatas being filled with flour or confetti, building up excitement until the final candy-filled pinata is broken.