Poinsettia – The Christmas Flower
Christmas isn’t really associated with blooming flowers and colorful flower displays. Many flowers don’t even bloom during the harsh cold winter in December so most people focus on the breathtaking winter foliage like holly mistletoe and pine.
However, when it comes to Christmas flowers and garlands, the beautiful Poinsettia flower is one big exception. You will see most houses adorned with this humble flower with its stunning red and green foliage.
Technically though, Poinsettia isn’t exactly a flower. It is actually the leaf. The real flower is incredibly tiny and is placed in the center of the colorful leaves. However, it still manages to stand out as a flower and is especially given as a bouquet gift to loved ones for Christmas.
Ever wondered why? Is it because of its floral star-like foliage?
The Old Mexican Legend
Poinsettias are native to Central America, predominantly Southern Mexico. Since they are not really flowers– one might wonder why they are the official Christmas flowers.
The Christmas tradition of poinsettias comes from an old Mexican legend about a young girl named Pepita. She didn’t have any gift or present to give to baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve service. This got her really upset and disheartened. Her cousin Pedro, however, tried to console her and cheer her up by telling her that Jesus would absolutely love anything from her, even if it is the smallest gift ever!
Since Pepita had no money to buy a real gift, she picked up some weeds that she found growing on the side of the road on her way to the church and presented it as a bouquet at the altar. As soon as she left the weeds at the altar, they suddenly sprung and blossomed into magnificent bright red flowers that we know today as ‘Poinsettia’.
Ever since that magical moment, Poinsettias began to be known as the “Flowers of the Holy Night”.
The Meaning of Poinsettia
One of the few other reasons why Poinsettia flower is associated with Christmas is because of the star-shaped flowers. The shape is highly symbolic and is believed to hold great similarity to the star that led wise men to Jesus.
Other than this, poinsettia carries several meanings including love, joy, hope, purity, motherhood, and holiness. Since Christmas is a time of love, happiness, celebration, and new beginnings, gifting a beautiful bouquet of Poinsettias to your loved ones on this occasion makes perfect sense.
The rich symbolism behind poinsettias goes a long way back to the Ancient Aztecs who called it the “star flower”. They mainly used these flowers as a symbol of purity since the color red has always been associated with the same meaning in the Aztec culture. They also used the flowers’ red tops to dye clothing and skin, which was basically a way to deem the person as sacred, pure, and clean.
A well-maintained poinsettia flower will grow into a stunning tree that will keep giving you joy and bliss for the many years to come, just like the Christmas spirit!
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