Mexico’s 200th birthday is coming next September 16th of 2010, so we have almost one year to get our ducks in a row, the mariachi band together and a good load of tequila and marguerita mix stored in the cellar.
In the meantime, I discovered a wonderful site that celebrates Mexico in all it’s splendor, full of articles about Mexican history, food, culture, folklore etc…
I’m re-posting a section of one of their articles about Mexican gifts to the world. I chose this in particular because the story of the poinsettia was told to me by my grandfather many times, and many times I thought he was inventing it to impress us. Well, I was so wrong and he was soooo right.
Posted here with pride and permission courtesy of Mexonline.com Please leave your comments below.
What Mexico Has Given To The World.
Each year, just before Christmas, poinsettia plants start to make their annual appearance in grocery and retail chains nationwide. The poinsettia has become synonymous with the Christmas holiday season and many bring this plant as a gift when visiting friends and family. Indeed, the plant’s bright red flowers lend a joyous presence to any environment and holiday decorations don’t seem complete without them. This plant is native to Mexico and originally came from a particular region near present-day Taxco. The Aztecs, whose name for the plant was ‘cuetlaxochitl’ used the poinsettia medicinally and also as a dye.
|Joel Roberts Poinsett|
The plant adopted its current name after the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett (1825-1829). This dignitary was so impressed with the plant that he had it shipped to his plantation in South Carolina.
Some decades later, in California, Albert Ecke, started to sell the flowers from his florist stand near Hollywood, California. It is believed he found the plant growing wild, in the foothills of present day Los Angeles. Ecke noticed that the plant’s flowers would bloom in a profusion of bright red around the Christmas holiday season. The plant proved enormously popular as a holiday decoration and a multi-million dollar business was born. Today, the base of operations is located in Encinitas, California, where the poinsettia is grown in greenhouses and shipped world-wide.