, 2022-12-25 08:08:47,
One of my most prized possessions is a round porcelain poinsettia-shaped cookie tray that my mother gave me. Every Christmas, this vibrant red tray with a yellow flower in the center would hold the sweet holiday candy and sweets we’d prepared to celebrate the season, so it was especially meaningful when she gave it to me to pass on the tradition.
The holidays are full of tradition and symbolism, and the poinsettia plays a major role in Christmas. But for years, I had no idea this beautiful flower had something to teach us about symbolism and cross-cultural appreciation.
Indeed, how the poinsettia got to the United States is an ironic tale of foreign policy blunders in Mexico from so long ago. In addition to being a beloved holiday plant, the poinsettia is a reminder of how easy it is to fit the parts we love from different cultures while not always appreciating the bigger picture or appreciating the people from that same culture.
Even as a plant lover and Latino, I have been unfamiliar with the history of the poinsettia for most of my life; I just bought them, like everyone else. With more than two million poinsettias sold annually, they are the most popular and best-selling Christmas plants in pots overall in the United States and Canada, according to Oklahoma State Extension – so common, that every year on December 12, citizens of the United States celebrate Poinsettia Day, which Congress named so on July 22, 2002.
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