12 December – Poinsettia Day
Poinsettia Day, a day to celebrate the ever popular red flower used around the Christmas holiday season. But where is the Poinsettia from, and how did it become a Christmas staple? That’s why we’re here to find out what Poinsettia Day is all about!
History of Poinsettia Day
To find out where the Poinsettia flower originated from we have to take a look in the past. In 1480 to his death, Aztec King Montezuma adorned his palace with Poinsettia or Cuetlaxochitl as it was known by the Aztecs, having his people cultivate the flower as a gift from the Gods.
Poinsettia was served as a reminder of the sacrifice that the Aztec gods had made to create the universe and that the debt would be repaid in human sacrifices. The Aztecs used the Poinsettia’s sap to cure fevers and the leaves make a dye.
Then, in the 17th century after the Conquistadors invaded Mexico, the blood red wild flower became a part of Christian ceremony for the first time when it was used in the nativity procession, the Fiesta of Santa Pesebre. It’s around this time that many legends originated, attempting to explain why the plant, beginning to be called “La flor de Nochebuena,” or Holy Night had acquired its bright and beautiful red color.
After being discovered in 1828 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the poinsettia became a popular specimen among botanists. One Botanist in particular, by the name of Wilenow, named the Poinsettia “Euporbia pulcherrima.” But after only four years another botanist by the name of William Hickling Prescott renamed the flower to “Poinsettia pulcherrima” in honour of the man who brought the flower back to be studied, Joel Poinsett.