A favorite flower in the United States is the Poinsettia,
beautiful, red, star-shape. It is called the "Flame Leaf" in Central
America or "Flower of the Holy Night" in Mexico. It was brought
to mexico over 100 years ago by Dr. Joel Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico. Most of the poinsettias used now come from California.
The legend of the poinsettia comes from Mexico. It tells of a girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo. They were very poor abut always looked forward to the Christmas festival. Each year a large manger scene was set up in the village church, and the days before Christmas were filled with parades and parties. The two children loved Christmas but were always saddened because they had no money to buy presents. They especially wished that they could give something to the church for the Baby Jesus. But they had nothing.
One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church to attend the service.
On their way they picked some weeds growing along the roadside and decided
to take them as their gift to the Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Of course
they were teased by other children when they arrived with their gift, but
they said nothing for they knew they had given what they could. Maria and
Pablo began placing the green plants around the manger and miraculously,
the green top leaves turned into bright red petal, and soon the manger
was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today.