Legend of the Poinsettia – Below is a legend of how we get the Poinsettia, why we have it around Christmas, why it is a winter plant and what it has to do with Christmas and why churches use them during Christmas. Plus it tells you other names used as well for this special Holy Flower. Plus free printable version!
Legend of the Poinsettia
A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services (Holy Mass). As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather than joy.
“I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eye.” said Pedro.
Not knowing what else to do. Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.
As she approached the altar, she remembered Pedro’s kind words: “Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.
Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.
From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.
Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!
What is a poinsettia
The poinsettia is a plant from Mexico. It is known for its red and green foliage. Mostly used around Christmas for floral displays. Also known as the Christmas Even Flower. The star like leaf pattern was said to resemble the Star of Bethlehem (Christmas Star). The red color is to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion on the cross. The Aztecs would use it for red dye and even an antipretic medicine (fever reducer).
Other names for Poinsettia
- Cuetlaxochitl (Flower that grows in residues) by the Aztecks
- Flor de Noche Buena (Christmas Even Flower) in Mexico & Guatemala
- Flor de Pascua or Pascua (Easter flower) by Spain
- Crown of the Andes in Chile & Peru
- Atatürk’s flower in Turkey
- Santa Claus’ Flower in Hungry
- Euphorbia pulcherrima the Binomial name
Right-Click the image above, choose save file as pdf. Then print it. Or you can just click on it.
National Poinsettia Day
This day is held every December 12th. And on Poinsettia Day, the Poinsettia is displayed on the Dia de le Virgen, or Virgin’s Day in Mexico.
I used this in Patterson Post 2004, our family Christmas Newsletter from 2004. I am also sure there are some various different versions out there as well.I also published this on December 9, 2014 and last Updated/Republishing December 23, 2020.