Native to Mexico, the Poinsetttia flower, Euphorbia pulcherrima (or Christmas flower, flor de navidad, nochebuena, pastora, pascuero, Pascua, and Estrella federal) is the one flower you think of when thinking about Christmas. Bright crissum red, with its unique star-shape, this beautiful flower is thought to be endemic to the town of Taxco, Guerrero and it fills us with pride knowing that Lolo and this flower share the same roots.
Photo by Annie Spratt (Unsplash)
In Prehispanic times, Aztecs called this flower Cuetlaxóchitl in Nahuatl—this comes from the conjunction of the words Cuetlaxtli which means “leather”, and Xochitl, which means “flower” or “the queen of all flowers”—translated as “flower that withers”, or “flower of resistant petals, like leather”. For these ancient people, associated this flower’s red and vivid colors to blood, and referred to it as “flor que se marchita” given that it tends to blossom only during winter months.
THE LEYEND OF POINSETTIA, OR NOCHEBUENA, FLOWER
The folk tale that is told about the nochebuena flower in Mexico, tells of a humble little girl who wanted to gift Baby Jesus with something meaningful during Christmas celebrations but could not find anything big enough that reflected her love or that slightly compared to the gifts he was receiving from other, more affluent people from her town. On her way to Christmas Eve mass, she decided she would gift him flower, but could not afford them. As she was kneeling on the side of the road crying from shame an angel, disguised as a boy, convinced her to cut down some weeds from the roadside, and so she did. As she was entering church, she kept her head down, unable to hide her shame. However, ss she placed her bouquet of flowers at the altar, the weeds blossomed into beautiful crimson star-shaped flowers, creating a miracle in response to this little girl’s unselfish gift.
Did you know…
The largest Poinsettia flower recorded in history is in Taxco Guerrero (according to Guinness World Records) where several potted poinsettias are used to display a yearly recreation of an oversized poinsettia.
"Santa Prisca y Nochebuena, 2019". Photo by Secretaría del Estado de Guerrero (Facebook)
As we are in the heart of the spirit of Christmas, we wanted to dedicated this blog to highlighting also the wonderful works of art that artisans in Hidalgo created to represent this unique flower: