The Legend of the Poinsettia
The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) comes from Mexico. It was originally planted by the Aztecs, who saw in its blood red “flowers” (actually bracts) a symbol of purity (for the Aztecs, blood was considered a purifier). The Spanish priests initially fought against this “cursed plant” before finally accepting the altogether too deeply rooted tradition by giving it a Catholic twist. Thus was born the following legend:
A little girl (or a boy, depending on the narrator) wanted to see the baby Jesus, but had no gift to give him. For lack of anything better, she cut some seemingly dead branches to give to the holy child. But when she presented her bouquet to the baby, a miracle occurred. The branches burst into brilliant red flowers – poinsettia flowers – and the baby Jesus smiled! Since then, the poinsettia always blooms at Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all!