The Poinsettia as a Show of Love: December 12 has traditionally been celebrated as Poinsettia Day in the US. Ever since the mid-19th century, Poinsettia Day has been taken as an opportunity in the United States to show appreciation to loved ones. Unlike Valentine’s Day, however, poinsettias and not flowers are given on Poinsettia Day – a custom that is likely to find favour here in Germany too.
The winter date can be traced back to the day on which Joel Poinsett died. As the first US ambassador to Mexico, Poinsett brought the poinsettia from Mexico to the US some 200 years ago, after which the plant was named after him. Starting from America, the poinsettia then proceeded to conquer the world. In the mid-19th century, the US Congress designated December 12 as Poinsettia Day in honour of the diplomat and plant lover.
In Europe, the poinsettia has been at the top of the hit parade of flowering potted plants for many years. As a popular present during the Advent and Christmas seasons, it can be found in almost every household in the winter months and has become an integral part of Christmas decorations over the course of time. In France, the poinsettia is not only called “Étoile d’Amour” but has also-as in the US-enjoyed long use as an expression of love, in other countries roses are almost always given for this purpose.
However, as far as grace, elegance and diversity are concerned, the poinsettia is well able hold its own against the rose. For poinsettias now blossom in a countless variety of shapes and colours, from the classic red to bordeaux, pink, apricot, rosé, lemon-yellow and creamy white. Two-tone variegated or white speckled poinsettias with pointed, rounded and ruffled bracts can also be found. They grow in large and small versions and as slender saplings. Plant breeders surprise us with new varieties for each season, making it possible to find the right poinsettia for anyone.
So those who wish to make a clear statement or want just once to show themselves from their best side need no longer wait for Valentine’s Day: December 12 is Poinsettia Day!