The Legend of the Poinsettia

At Christmas in Mexico, most houses display the Poinsettia. Just as we have Holly, Misletoe and the Christmas Tree, the Mexicans have the poinsettia. They believe that the beautiful plant brings a blessing that will last all year. The tradition has existed since 1834 when a miracle occurred in a tiny village.

In those days it was customary for people in the villages to take gifts to the Baby Jesus at Christmas Eve. Little Maria, a poor peasant girl had no gift, but she did so want to enter the church and see the Baby Jesus in His crib.

She stood outside, watching others as they entered, carrying their gifts. Some took food, some took crochet and lacework. Others carried flowers. But little Maria had nothing. One lady passed her with a huge bundle of flowers in her arms. As she walked by, a leaf fell from the enormous bunch and landed at Maria's feet. She picked it up and thought, "I will take this leaf".

Others saw Maria pick up the leaf and smiled as she carefully wrapped it in her small handkerchief. And then, clutching her tiny gift, Maria entered the church. She took her place at the end of the line of people waiting to make their offerings. Then at last, it was Maria's turn. She stretched out her arm and carefully opened her fingers to place the leaf on the altar in front of the crib.

There was a gasp from the adults who had seen Maria fold the leaf into her tiny handkerchief. For as her fingers separated, it was seen that the little peasant girl was now holding a beautiful flower. The miraculous bloom was formed like a star with brilliant scarlet leaves

Word of the miracle spread quickly through the church and people fell to their knees. The gift of the Poinsettia came to be known as "The Flower of the Holy Night".