Nochebuena: A Christmas symbol originally from Mexico
Euphorbia pulcherrima, Poinsettia, Pastora or simply Nochebuena, this flower was born in Mexico and today is one of the main Christmas symbols all over the world.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA), the cuetlaxóchitl was used by the Aztecs for the production of natural dyes. It was also used in various rituals as a symbol of purity and life after death, due to its deep red color, similar to blood.
Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, Nochebuena was used as a decoration flower during the holiday season, due to its strong color and also because its flowering period in the Northern Hemisphere comprises, precisely, the months from November to January.
In 1822, during the presidency of James Monroe, Joel Roberts Pointsett was appointed prime minister or agent of the United States in Mexico -the first ambassador was appointed until 1896-. Mr. Pointsett originally arrived to negotiate the sale of some northern territories to Mexico’s Northern Region.
Pointsett was a botanical expert, who took this beautiful flower to the United States where he named it Poinsettia and, since that time, it is considered one of the main symbols of Christmas.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mexico ranks 4th for the growth of Poinsettias, with 300 hectares of land exclusive to its production, mainly in the states of Morelos, Michoacan, Puebla, State of Mexico, Jalisco, Veracruz, Queretaro, Guanajuato, Chiapas, Guerrero and Mexico City.
Each year, Mexican farmers produce about 20 million flowers, representing roughly $30 million USD, from which 140 tons are exported to the U.S., Spain, Japan and the Netherlands, among other countries.
On December 8th, the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico commemorates the Poinsettia National Day, with conferences, cultural events, exhibitions and the massive sale of this flower that represents one of the many gifts of Mexico the world.
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