Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Story of the Poinsettia

I love poinsettias -- I always have and probably always will. Part of my love for them is their beauty -- part is their story. This is a translation of an article originally written in Spanish (and yes, I am the translator).

During the Christmas season, the flower of the Nochebuena (literally means 'good night' but it's the Mexican word for Christmas Eve) is very popular in the United States. However, many do not know that the flower is originally from Mexico,

In Spanish, the flower has many names: the flower of Nochebuena, the flower of Easter, the flower of fire, the Star of Christmas, and the crown of the Andes. The indigenous Mexicans call it 'cuetlazochitl' or the flower with petals as tough as leather. For the Aztecs, the red flower was the symbol of the blood of the sacrifices that were offered to the sun.

In the United States, the flower is known as the poinsettia in honor of Joel Poinsett, a botanist and physican as well as the first American minister to Mexico who sent samples of the flower to the United States.

In Mexico, there is a legend about the flower. It is said that there was once a very poor young girl who cried because she had no gift to give the baby Jesus on the altar of her church on Christmas Eve. An angel heard her prayers and told her to cut the branches of the plants near the path.

When the girl arrived at the altar, on contact with her tears the branches became beautiful red flowers. They were the first poinsettias. Now she had a suitable gift for the baby Jesus!

Today the poinsettia is the traditional Christmas flower in the United States and it adorns the altars of churches across the country as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Happy Blogging!!!!!!!!!



  1. This is such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this interesting Christmas information.

  2. Great story! I wish it was still called Nochebuena. That is much easier to say than Poinsettia.

  3. What a delightful story. Have a happy Chritmas Kay

  4. Thanks y'all!!!! I love old legends and I find this one special.

    And Annie, in Mexico they call it la flor de Nochebuena not Nochebuena.

  5. I also love poinsettias but have learned over the years to always purchase mine on December 24th so that I will have a good looking plant that lasts for Christmas week.

    Bear((( )))

  6. Thanks for a lovely bit of history and a legend! It was amazing to me when I went to Guatemala and saw poinsettias growing as tall shrubs with red flowers...not surprised that they are originally from Mexico.
    Poinsettias last forever if you keep watering them -- after they have lost the red leaves, they grow green ones in the summer and bush out amazingly.

  7. Hope you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas! ♥ Hugs :) Shauna


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