Poinsettia Day, also known as National Poinsettia Day, is observed on December 12th every year. This holiday celebrates one of the most recognizable plants of the holiday season. The plant has been associated with the Christmas season since the 17th century, so it’s no surprise that many people make the connection between the two.
Considering how ubiquitous this plant is during the holiday season, it’s not surprising that a holiday was dedicated in its honor.
The History of Poinsettia Day
We can’t discuss the history of National Poinsettia Day without first talking about the history of the plant—at least, its history as part of the Christmas season. According to legend, a little girl in 16th-century Mexico wanted to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday, but she was poor and couldn’t afford a gift.
Grief-stricken by her inability to give Jesus a gift, an angel appeared to her and told her that she could give Jesus any gift—as long as it was given with love. So that’s what she did. She gathered weeds from the side of the road to place in a manger display.
As she prepared to place them, however, they transformed from ordinary weeds into beautiful red stars. Ever since then, according to legend, they have been associated with Christmas. Although the history of Poinsettia Day isn’t as colorful as the legend of the poinsettia, the history of this plant’s introduction to the United States and the creation of this holiday is interesting nonetheless.
An American botanist and the first U.S. Minister to Mexico named Joel Roberts Poinsett was the one who initially brought this plant to the United States in 1825. However, at that time, the plant still hadn’t become associated with Christmas.
That wouldn’t happen until Paul Ecke started selling the plants as Christmas flowers from his roadside stand during the 1920s. From that point onwards, people began to associate this flower with the holiday.
The holiday was established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to honor the life of Paul Ecke—the father of the American poinsettia industry. December 12th was chosen because it was the day he died. It has been a holiday celebrated by an ever-increasing number of people who love these plants with the beautiful red star design.
Observing Poinsettia Day
This day can be observed by buying one or more poinsettias for your home. At this time of year, poinsettias are very common and are sold not only by florists and greenhouses but also by many supermarkets.
Another way to celebrate this holiday is by using the hashtags #PoinsettiaDay or #NationalPoinsettiaDay on your social media accounts to let everyone know that you’re celebrating this holiday. It’s also a great day to give a friend, family member, or coworker a beautiful poinsettia.