The origin of the Christmas Poinsettia

Posted On December 2, 2006

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Christmas is a sacred time to the faithful of Mexico and people often celebrate by assembling and decorating life size nativities at the front of their churches. On Christmas Eve, parishioners are invited to bring a gift of thanksgiving to the manger at their church.

On a very special Christmas Eve, a little boy quietly walked to his church. Despite his desire to celebrate Christmas, he drug his feet a little as he walked, embarrassed that he was too poor to buy, or even make, a gift to take to the manger.

Abruptly, the great light of an angel appeared to him on the road, instructing him to pull weeds from the side of the road, and to take them as his gift to Jesus. With shaking hands, the boy did as the angel instructed and ran with his weeds the rest of the way to church.

When he arrived, he held his head high as he stepped to the front of the church. Laying the weeds in the manger, he knelt and began a prayer of thanks. As he prayed, his weeds transformed into magnificent, star shaped flowers of bright red, pink and white.

These Poinsettias, or “Flor de la Noche Buena,” (the Flower of the Holy Night) amazed everyone in the church that Christmas Eve. Today, people around the world bring Poinsettias into their homes and churches at Christmas to remember the star that led the Wise Men, and a little boy in Mexico, to the most wonderful manger.

The Poinsettia was introduced into the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett in 1828 while he was a minister in Mexico. It became a part of American Christmas tradition in the early 1900s when it was promoted by Californian Albert Ecke.

Sources for the History of the Poinsettia >
http://www.bsu.edu/web/01bkswartz/xmaspub.html
http://www.billpetro.com/HolidayHistory/hol/xmas/poinsett.html
http://www.santas.net/mexicanchristmas.htm
http://www.stcharleschristmas.com/poinsettia.htm

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2 Responses to “The origin of the Christmas Poinsettia”

  1. Enda Hynes

    Dear Sirs ,
    Today, by chance I was watching Mexican television and I saw about the poitsettia and the legend.
    I want to add that here in Argentina the plant and the flowers are very common and they are called “Estrella federal”. We don’t have them in Christmas because they flower in winter, and Christmas here is in Summer . And we leave them in the plant we never cut them because they are toxic and they are not sold in the flower shops because they are so common.
    Sincerely yours,
    Enda H. de Herbst

  2. Paola Lopez

    Dear Sir:

    I absolutly agree with Enda. In Argentina and Brasil “Estrella Federal” are almost a weed. They grow to the size of very tall trees- 3 feet easily. You can find them every where at subtropical climate areas on the center and east of South america. I have visited a cementery in San Pablo,Brasil that was fenced by “Estrella Federal trees” all around. People care less about them ! However, I diddn’t know about toxicity. In New york they sell them for crazy prices, and they tell you they are not toxic ???

    I even saw a stupid add offering them to send them as a present to Brasil- How can they be so naive !! They must be insane…! You can reproduce them easily just by steam cut, placing them in he ground or in a pot in a country like Brasil!

    Respectfully.
    Paola