Poinsettias at Christmas

Have you ever seen a Poinsettia plant? You can google it and see these bright red plants. They are very beautiful and are popular at Christmas in North America and in South Korea. Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially in an area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ where they flower during the winter. Native is an adjective which means the plants grow in Mexico, naturally. The most common color is red, but they also come in white and different shades of pink and yellow. One year, we saw them in blue, but no one liked them and I have not seen blue ones again. Blue doesn’t feel like Christmas.

The poinsettia became famous because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett (that’s why we call them Poinsettia). He was the first ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Mr. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina, and while visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends.

It is thought that they became known as Poinsettia in the mid 1830s when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.

There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together. Legend is a noun which means a story that is not true but teaches us something meaningful. Here is the legend:

There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Church Service. Pepita didn’t know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet. Bouquet is a noun which means a collection of flowers put together. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus.  She knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. A nativity scene is a display of all the characters connected to the story of Jesus. You can google nativity scene pictures. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. Miracle is a noun which means a surprising event that is caused by God. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought to be a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus.

Poinsettias are a beautiful Christmas plant and help to make a room look magical.

I hope you have enjoyed these blogs about Christmas.  It is a huge celebration in many countries.

Merry Christmas.

Lesley Lawson