Okay. I’m a curmudgeon. I admit it. I don’t really like the Poinsettia and I am finding two different spellings for it? Poinsetta or Poinsettia??? I’m so confused??? You might ask, why don’t you like the famous Christmas plant? I’m glad you asked. It does have bright red leaves and seems to be so incredibly popular during the Christmas season. It’s just doesn’t appeal to me. So, there you have it. However, there is a sweet legend of the Christmas plant with two different spellings.
1.) Maria and Pablo, a sister and brother, lived in Mexico and they were very poor. There was a Christmas festival, in their village every year, and the church had a manger scene set up each year. Maria and Pablo loved the festival, which included parades and parties. As a result of their poverty, they were unable to bring a gift of any kind to the church for the baby Jesus. On Christmas Eve, they started out for the church service and along the way, they picked weeds to decorate the manger, where Jesus rested. In spite of the teasing they received, when they arrived at the church, they placed the weeds around the manger. Well, unexpectedly, the green leaves turned into bright red petals and soon these bright red star shaped plants surrounded the manger. That is the Christmas plant, that I can’t spell, that we know today. I like that story, I think it’s sweet.
2.) The second version to this legend is the story of Pepita and her cousin, Pedro. I love the name Pepita. That is so cute. I see in my mind’s eye an adorable girl with big round brown eyes and a sweet smile. Anyway, I digress. Once again, she was very poor and unhappy because she didn’t have anything to give the baby Jesus. Pedro tried to encourage Pepita by telling her that even the poorest of gifts is well received if given with love. So, Pepita gathered weeds from the roadside and fashioned them into a bouquet. When Pepita entered the church, she was sad and embarrassed by the humble gift, however, Pedro’s encouraging words lifted her spirits. When she knelt by the manager, the weeds burst into beautiful red blooms. Everyone who saw this declared a Christmas miracle. The flowers became know as “Flores de Nocha Buena or, Flowers of the Holy Night.” They bloom each year at Christmas time! www.justforkidsmagazine.com
The Aztecs of Mexico cultivated the Poinsetta. In the 17th century the Franciscan priests used the plants in nativity processions. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an Ambassador from the United States to Mexico made the plant widely known. Robert Buist was apparently the first person to sell the Poinsetta under it’s botanical name.
picture from pinterest.