Wishing you a very happy, healthy and properous 2009!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a winter flowering native shrub of the southern and central areas of Mexico, around Taxco del Alarcon and was a significant plant in Aztec society; not only revered as the purest plant of all because of its vibrant colouring, but used in many practical ways too, from a dye used in making textiles and cosmetics for body painting, to a cure for fevers. It was an important part of everyday life and was known as ‘Cuetlaxochitl’. It is recorded that the Aztec Emperor Nezahualcoyotl (1402 – 1472) created gardens for them, and legend has it that when the Aztecs initiated their conquest of southern territories, the spilled blood of their sacrificed captives to fell mother earth gave raise to the origin to this flower.
In 1828, Joel Roberts Poinsett, a doctor, botanist and politician and then first Ambassador to Mexico
So how did the Poinsettia become popular at Christmas? It’s first obvious connection is that it is winter flowering, but more importantly, during the Spanish Conquests of South America, and specifically in Mexico, Franciscan missionaries sought to introduce Christianity to the native Aztec Indians, and decorated Nativity Crib scenes with the bright red flowers; the symbolism in Aztec culture of the purest flower, and their deeply ingrained use in every day life was a perfect metaphor that the monks could use to entwine Christian traditions with local customs to gain their acceptance and spread the word of the Bible.