Each year on the 12th day of December, people across the United States recognize National Poinsettia Day.
The poinsettia plant’s connection to the Christmas season dates back to 16th-century Mexico. Legend tells of a girl who worried she had no gift to celebrate Jesus’s birthday because she was too poor. An angel tells her to give any gift with love. The young girl gathered weeds from alongside the road and placed them in the manger. Miraculously the weeds bloomed into beautiful red stars.
The poinsettia first came to the United States by way of Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist and the first United States Minister to Mexico. In 1825, he sent cuttings home to Charleston, South Carolina.
It wasn’t until the early 1920s when Paul Ecke, a second-generation farmer in California, discovered a grafting technique which caused the seedlings to branch, that the poinsettia started to take root in American culture. The family hawked their Christmas flower at roadside stands. Paul Ecke Jr. advanced the sales of the poinsettia through shipping and marketing.
The House of Representatives in 2002 created Poinsettia Day to honor the father of the poinsettia industry, Paul Ecke. The date of December 12 marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the man responsible for bringing the plan to the United States.
For more information visit: National Day Calendar