For Selena Fans, a Piñata That Can (and Should) Take a Beating

There are a few essentials for any child’s birthday party: a theme, a cake, some balloons, a piñata created in the image of a convicted killer.

At least that was the checklist for Alana Elizondo of Eagle Pass, Texas, when her daughter Raelynn requested a Selena Quintanilla theme for her eighth-birthday party. Ms. Elizondo and Raelynn had bonded over their shared love of the singer, a Tejano music superstar who died at age 23 in 1995. Rather than whacking at a piñata in the likeness of their idol, Ms. Elizondo thought, why not take a swing at her killer, Yolanda Saldívar?

With the help of friend, she was able to find someone who made Yolanda piñatas just across the border, in the neighboring Mexican state of Coahuila. In a recent interview, Ms. Elizondo recalled the day they hung it up at a family pizzeria, with several patrons yelling out, “Hit her!”

At one time, Ms. Saldívar, who was found guilty of first-degree murder after fatally shooting the singer in a Texas motel room, had a reasonable claim to the title of most despised woman on earth. The founder and former president of the Selena fan club, Ms. Saldívar was broadly reviled for cutting down the beloved singer in her prime. (Ms. Quintanilla had won her first Grammy Award, for best Mexican American album, just one year earlier.)

“In our Mexican culture, our community, we dislike Yolanda so much,” Ms. Elizondo, 35, said. “She took away someone that had huge dreams and goals for herself. She took away a beautiful life.”

In the nearly 30 years since Selena’s death, Ms. Saldívar has evolved into something akin to a folk villain in the eyes of many Latinos, so it might not come as a surprise that there’s been a healthy market for piñatas made in her likeness for years.

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