It’s Christmas, and what do you see in the window of almost every store you pass by? In addition to sprigs of holly and bright, twinkling lights, you’ll likely see explosive, colorful arrangements of poinsettias as well.
These beautiful and impressive flowers are common during the Christmas season. However, do you know why? The poinsettia has deep cultural and symbolic significance. This is what you need to know.
What does Poinsettia mean?
The common name “poinsettia” was first used in the early 1800s, with the name derived from that of Joel Roberts Poinsett, botanist and prime minister of the United States in Mexico.
This man sent poinsettias from Mexico to his greenhouses in South Carolina. Before changing its name to poinsettia, the plant was known as the “painted leaf” or the “Mexican flame flower.” Its scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima.
What do poinsettias symbolize?
Poinsettias have long been known for their Christmas affiliations. In fact, the plant was first associated with the holiday during the 16th century in Guatemala and Mexico.
Here, a legend said that a girl named Maria was too poor to be able to offer a gift for the holidays. Instead, an angel told him to pick up the brush from the edge of the road.
When he placed the weeds next to the church altar, crimson flowers sprouted that later became poinsettias. From that moment, the Franciscan friars began to use the celebrations of the festival of the vegetal sun, since the star pattern of the leaves could symbolize the Star of Bethlehem while the red color symbolizes the sacrifice of the crucifixion.
This plant, which is normally found in shades of red, can also be grown to produce green, white, and pink flowers. Regardless of color, poinsettias have similar meanings. For the most part, these flowers symbolize success, good humor, and even purity (although the latter meaning is not so common anymore).
What is the cultural significance of a poinsettia?
Interestingly, the Aztecs were the first to grow poinsettias. In the United States, the cultivation of these plants did not begin until Joel Poinsett shipped plants to South Carolina.
The Aztecs originally used poinsettias to produce dyes and also as antipyretic medications. The plant, in the ancient language of the Aztecs known as Nahuatl, is known as Cuetlaxochitl, which means “flower that grows in waste or in the ground.”
In Mexico, the poinsettia is appreciated as the Poinsettia flower, while in Peru and Chile it is known as the Crown of the Andes. In Spain, the poinsettia is a traditional poinsettia.
What is the symbolism of a Poinsettia tattoo?
Poinsettia tattoos are not just about Christmas, but you will find that these tattoos are generally closely related to the holiday season. Poinsettia tattoos can help you unleash the magic of the holidays and bring life to your skin.
If you were born in December or want to commemorate someone born in December with your tattoos, this flower will also be a good choice.
When should you give someone a poinsettia?
Poinsettias are appropriate flowers during the holiday season, but you could really gift someone one of these illustrious flowers any time of year. Since they keep well in flower arrangements, flowers are often given as gifts during the Christmas season. They are also the December birth flower, making them an appropriate birthday gift for someone who is also celebrating a birthday this month.