The piñata industry, dependent on social gatherings, has seen sales plummet. Some artisans, in a creative bid to survive, have added coronavirus figures to their lineups of superheros and princesses.
MEXICO CITY — The sight is jarring against the backdrop of smog and concrete that marks this part of Mexico City, a tangle of freeways and overpasses with old buses rumbling by and belching smoke.
But there, bursting like flowers amid the ashen buildings, they hang in row upon row: piñatas, painted every color, from bright fuchsia to midnight blue to Baby Yoda green. On the sidewalk, a Spiderman piñata stands beside Batman, while Mickey Mouse leans against Sonic the Hedgehog.
And included among the copyright-be-damned cartoon characters, superheros and doe-eyed Disney princesses is a more recent addition to the Mexican piñata repertoire. Painted lime-green with a gold crown, spikes erupting in all directions, the coronavirus glares at passers-by.
devastated whole communities.
“We Mexicans laugh even at death,” Mr. Mena said. “It’s become just another monster.”
Piñata makers, often close-knit families whose business depends on the social gatherings that have largely halted during the pandemic, have, like much of the country, suffered both financially and personally for the past year.
Mr. Mena said that his sales had plummeted, putting him in a dire economic situation, but that the personal losses had been even worse. Eleven members of his extended family have died of Covid-19, as well as more than two dozen others he knows of in the industry.
“It’s so hard for a lot of us,” he said. “It just never crossed your mind that there would be so many dead in so little time.”
updated its official figures, showing that the virus may have claimed more than 300,000 lives, an astonishing toll for the country of 126 million people.
The effect of the pandemic on the economy has been almost as ruinous. Last year, Mexico suffered its biggest annual economic slump since the Great Depression, and the financial fallout may push millions into poverty.