Sunday, December 12, 2010

National Poinsettia Day

Poinsettias are one of my favorite plants and displaying them all over my house in December makes me happy!

I can't resist these flaming red, star-shaped flowers. Their brightness cheers up spaces and all who occupy them.

I love that poinsettias are known as the "flower of the Holy Night" and represent the deep love of Jesus Christ for all mankind. Having them around me at Christmastime is a constant reminder of the reason for the season. I love that too.

Long ago I researched the history of the poinsettia and learned that they were brought to the United States from Mexico more than 100 years ago - in 1826 - by Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett of South Carolina, the first US ambassador to that country.

At first Americans referred to the plant as the Mexican Fire Plant or the Painted Leaf, but after Poinsett's death in 1851, it became known as the poinsettia. And, later, December 12, the day Poinsett died, was declared National Poinsettia Day in his honor. 

So, each year, on this day, I decorate my home with baskets full of poinsettia plants and pay special homage to Dr. Poinsett and Mexico. 

I invite some friends over, mix up a batch of green chili enchiladas and a pitcher of margaritas and deliver a ceremonial toast to the man and our neighbor to the south.

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