ROSWELL, NM — In a colorful nod to Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) released a new set of Piñatas! Forever stamps. The debut took place at the 36th Annual Piñata Festival, featuring four designs—two donkeys and two seven-pointed stars—commemorating the cultural favorite of traditional Mexican fiestas.
This marks the third consecutive year that USPS has issued Hispanic-themed stamps. Last year, the organization launched Mariachi stamps, and in September 2021, it issued Day of the Dead stamps. News of the Piñatas! stamps is circulating with the hashtag #PinatasStamps.
Isaac Cronkhite, USPS’s Chief Processing and Distribution Officer and Executive Vice President, served as the stamps’ dedicating official. “One of the reasons I feel proud to work at the Postal Service is because we are one of the nation’s oldest and most admired public service institutions. Part of that proud history is celebrating our multi-faceted heritage through stamps. Ours is truly a world culture, and our stamps allow us to weave together the many threads of our national tapestry, and piñatas are the perfect example of this,” said Cronkhite.
The ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including Juan P. Oropesa, City Councilor, Roswell, NM; Timothy Z. Jennings, Mayor of Roswell, NM; Alma Salas, Board President, Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce; Felipe Flores, Jr., Western Division, Senior Director of Processing Operations, U.S. Postal Service; Yesenia Prieto, Executive Director and Piñata Maker and Artist, Piñata Design Studio; and Emily Zaiden, Director and Curator, Craft in America Center.
Historically, piñatas trace their origins to China, where medieval European explorers documented a New Year’s custom involving the breaking of a decorated animal figurine to release seeds. This practice moved through Italy and Spain, evolving over time, before arriving in the Americas with Christian missionaries in the 16th century.
Piñatas have been incorporated into various celebrations, including holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. They are particularly important in posadas, a nine-day festival commemorating Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The piñata-making process has also evolved over the years, with artisans today using various materials ranging from reeds to balloons as bases for their creations.
The stamp art showcases digital illustrations of traditional piñata designs: a donkey set against a pink or orange background and a seven-pointed star against a purple or green backdrop. These colors, inspired by Mexican culture, aim to encapsulate the vibrancy of the celebrations the piñatas are associated with.
The stamps were designed by Víctor Meléndez and directed by Antonio Alcalá. They are being issued in booklets of 20 and will always hold a value equal to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
This release of culturally significant stamps not only celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month but also serves as a representation of the rich tapestry of traditions that make up the United States.