I have always loved to decorate my front yard with lots of poinsettias during the Christmas season. The first Christmas after my move from Miami to Maryland I learned the hard way that they do not appreciate a drastic drop in temperature. Because of my cats it is not a good idea to keep them indoors so I am going to have to settle for artificial poinsettias in the future.
They are so cheerful and I just discovered the following sweet story about a poor Mexican girl named Pepita and how they became a Christmas symbol:
It began in 16th Century Mexico. As was the tradition, each child from the village would present a gift to the Christ Child at the Christmas Eve Services. Unfortunately, Pepita was so very poor that a gift wasn’t something she could give which made her sad. On the way to the chapel she was accompanied by her cousin Pedro. Seeing her sadness, her cousin tried to comfort her.
“I am sure Pepita,” he said softly, “That even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes,”
Not knowing what else to do, although some say she was inspired by an angel, Pepita knelt down by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds. On her way to the chapel she busied herself and fashioned them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she became sadder and even embarrassed by the humbleness of her offering. She began to cry as she entered the doors to the small village chapel. As she approached the altar, she remembered Pedro’s words.
Inexplicably, she felt her spirits lift as she knelt down to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene, and as she lay them down the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red. All those who witnessed the event believed that they had seen a Christmas miracle. And from that day forward, these bright red flowers were re-named as the Flores de Noche Buena (the Christmas Eve flowers). We know them as Poinsettias.