Thursday, December 15, 2016

Why Poinsettias?

The Aztecs used the plant to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication.[10] In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the plant is called Cuetlaxochitl, meaning "flower that grows in residues."[10] Today it is known in Mexico and Guatemala as Flor de Noche Buena, meaning Christmas Eve Flower.[10] In Spain it is known as Flor de Pascua or Pascua, meaning Easter flower.[10] In Chile and Peru, the plant became known as Crown of the Andes.[10] In Turkey, it is called Atatürk's flower because Atatürk, the founder of the Republic, liked this flower and made a significant contribution to its cultivation in Turkey.[citation needed]
The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar.[11] Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias.[12] From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.[13] The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.[14]

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