The Legend of the
Today's Snack: cocoa and toast points (cut a piece of buttered toast in fourths,
diagonally) for dipping.
One poinsettia plant
Thin black permanent felt tip
Red, green and yellow markers
known as "the Christmas star." The red flowers, which are really leaves, are in
the shape of a star. People think of them as a symbol of the star that
shimmered over the City of Bethlehem in Israel when Jesus was born. The
red color symbolizes the blood of Christ that was shed for the salvation of the
several legends concerning the poinsettia. One came out of Mexico, where
poinsettias are native. A small, poor boy, wanting to have his very own gift to
lay before the Creche (manger scene) at his church, knelt to pray outside.
When he arose,
he discovered that the ground was covered with beautiful plants with scarlet
leaves and yellow flowers. He then picked the flowers and laid them at the
Creche as his gift to the Christ-child.
legend from Mexico is about a girl named Pepeta, whose mother was asked to
weave a new blanket to cover the Baby Jesus in the manger for the Christmas Eve
service. Because the mother became ill, she was not able to complete the
Pepeta tried to
weave, but could not do it alone. The best she could do was pick an armful
of green weeds to lay over the Baby Jesus.
prayed, the green weeds were transformed into flaming red stars with green
branches -- poinsettias. Today they are referred to as "La Flor De Noche
Buena," the flowers of the Holy Night.
Note that the flowers of a poinsettia are
tiny and in the very center of the plant. The bright red, pink or white leaves
are eye-catching, but aren't actually flowers.
Aztecs of Mexico used the poinsettia plant for red dye and to make a
history note: poinsettias were discovered growing wild in Mexico sometime
between 1825 and 1830 by Dr. Joel Roberts Pointsett, the first ambassador to
botanist, loved the plant and called it "painted leaves." He grew the plants in
his greenhouse in Greenville, South Carolina. The plant became commercially
popular when botanists used special techniques to get huge clusters of color to
erupt at the top of the plant. Poinsettias are rather sparse in the wild, but
with the special care, the colorful leaves can make a lush display.
Nowadays it is
hard to think of Christmas without a poinsettia somewhere in the picture.
poinsettias and pictures . . . for today's Treat, draw the poinsettia from the
side or from the top. Then color in the red and green leaves and the tiny
yellow blossoms at the center.
Be sure to sign
and date it. Maybe you could even put it in an inexpensive frame, and bring
your picture out every Christmas! It'll be a beautiful touch to your
decorations . . . and you won't have to water it!