When is this holiday celebrated?
This holiday is observed & celebrated on December 12 every year.
What is this holiday about?
The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States.
What is the purpose of this holiday?
The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant.
How is this holiday celebrated?
National Poinsettia Day is the Traditional Day to give a poinsettia plant to someone in your family so they can enjoy it's beauty for the holiday season. So, be sure to give someone you love a poinsettia on December 12, National Poinsettia Day!
Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly named poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly named poinsettia, is a species of flowering plant indigenous to Mexico, and native to the Pacific coast of the United States. The shrub occurs in some parts of central and southern Mexico, and a few localities in Guatemala. The name "poinsettia" is after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1825. The alternative names for the poinsettia are: Cuetlaxochitl (in Nahuatl mexican language), Mexican flame leaf, Christmas star, Winter rose, Noche Buena, Lalupatae, Atatürk çiçeği ("Flower of Atatürk", in Turkey), Αλεξανδρινό (Alexandrian, in Greece), Pasqua and Stella di Natale (in Italy).
History of the poinsettia and the Christmas tradition
In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the plant is called Cuitlaxochitl meaning "star flower." The Aztecs used the plant to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication. In both Chile and Peru, the plant became known as "Crown of the Andes".
The plants' association with Christmas cream puff in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young naked girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan monks in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.
In the United States, December 12th is National Poinsettia Day.
A poinsettia cocktail is a mixture of dry sparkling white wine, vodka, and cranberry juice.
Cultivation of the Poinsettia
In areas outside its natural environment it is commonly grown as an indoor plant where it prefers good morning sun then shade in the hotter part of the day. However it is widely grown and very popular in subtropical climates such as Sydney, Australia.
As this is a subtropical plant, it will likely perish if the night-time temperature falls below 10° C (50° F) so is not suitable for planting in the ground in cooler climates. Likewise daytime temperatures in excess of 21° C (70° F) tend to shorten the lifespan of the plant.
The poinsettia is also cultivated in Egypt since 1860s, it was brought from Mexico during Egyptian campaign around 1860s. It is called "Bent El Consul", "the consul's daughter", referring to U.S. ambassador Mr. Poinsett.
The poinsettia can be difficult to induce to reflower after the initial display when purchased. The plant requires a period of uninterrupted long, dark nights for around two months in autumn in order to develop flowers. Incidental light at night during this time will hamper flower production. When watering it is important to allow the plant to drain out any excess water. Having a poinsettia sit in water can do harm to the plant as it prefers moist soil to direct water.
In order to produce extra axillary buds that are necessary for plants containing multiple flowers, a phytoplasma infection – whose symptoms include the proliferation of axillary buds – is used.
What type of holiday is this?
By an Act of Congress, December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day.
Other December Holidays around the world
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