During this time you will be seeing practically everywhere the “Christmas Star(Euphorbia Pulcherrima in its official botanical name), one of the most popular Christmas flower decorations around originating from rural Central America. But how did a South American flower become one of the symbols of Christmas?
Known as “Cuetlaxochitl” by the Aztecs, the flower was widely used for dyeing clothes and treating fevers, but also in religious ceremonies since red for this people was a real symbol of purity (not for nothing they loved sacrifices). Furthermore, since they bloom in December, these are ideal decorations for adorning houses and balconies, but their fame is due to an ancient Mexican legend.
According to what is said, during Christmas Eve a very poor girl wanted to bring a gift to the Child Jesus inside the church and, for this reason, composed a small bunch of twigs and weeds. The little girl hoped that her gift would be accepted all the same given the love she used to prepare it … and so it was.
During the same night, just during mass, a magic happened: from that medium of weeds and twigs beautiful red flowers in the shape of stars blossomed. Since then, precisely because of this legend, the poinsettia has been the official Christmas flower in these areas.
Decades later the tradition also came to us thanks to the natural scientist Alexander von Humboldt who brought the E. Pulcherrima in Europe. From 1950 it was cultivated in Germany as a houseplant, and the poinsettia – thanks to its rapid diffusion – became popular all over the world. The color, period, marketing and history make it the perfect flower for this lovely festive season.
By the way, how much science is there in Christmas?