La Flor de Pascua: The Festive Flower

The Festive Flower Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

IF you take a look around Almeria, or any Spanish town during Christmas time, one sight you are sure to see is the bright bloom of La Flor de Pascua, The Pascua Flower. 

Known in English as the Poinsettia, a quarter of all these plants are cultivated in Almeria, where the warm climate allows them to be grown under plastic, without the use of additional heating. But how and when was this tradition born in Spain?

The history of this plant at Christmas actually dates back to Mexico, where it is known as ‘Christmas Eve’, and the reason the Pascua flower was linked to Christmas is its natural flowering time, which coincides perfectly with the festive season. This Pascua tends to flower during the month of December. and then take on its bright red leaf colours just in time for Christmas. Its dazzling display amidst the darkness of winter makes it a perfect gift and ornament to brighten homes and churches during the festive period.  

It has also acquired a strong symbolism due to the religious roots of Christmas, as its intense red colour is associated with the blood of Christ, and the star shape that its leaves resemble is reminiscent of the Star of Bethlehem.

La Flor de Pascua rooted itself in Spanish culture around thirty years ago, when cuttings arrived in the country from Africa, and many farmers in Almeria swapped tomatoes and peppers for the ornamental plants. Now the province produces around 2.5 million poinsettias every year. 

The tradition of planting, displaying and giving La Flor de Pascua at Christmas unites people of all nationalities and backgrounds. It is a universal gesture of love and appreciation that transcends cultural and linguistic barriers. When you gift this plant, you are sharing the spirit of Christmas. 

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Written by

Jennifer Popplewell

Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.