A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Mexico. Leer en Español.
When Romana Zacarías Camacho's husband, Nicolás Ortiz Valencia, died in 1999, she was faced with a tough reality. Not only had the Mexican woman lost the man she loved, her family also lost its breadwinner. Camacho, who is affectionately referred to as "Doña Romanita," knew she needed to do something to take care of her four children. So she took up the one trade that her hometown of Acolman is renowned for.
“My mom enrolled in a piñata-making class," recalled Ana Lilia Ortiz Zacarías, Camacho's 27-year-old daughter. "The next year she began by putting 50 up for sale. In that same year, she trained 53 women. She began making more and we got to the point where we were making 10-15,000 pieces during the Christmas season."
Camacho died in May 2016. Diabetes ravaged her body. But in 2010, before she passed, she was named the "Queen of Piñatas" by the State of Mexico. And her legacy of manufacturing piñatas lives on today. Her children continue to carry on her piñata business in the town where the Mexican tradition was created.
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This article originally appeared on VICE MX.