What Is the "Legend of the Poinsettia" Poem?

According to the Mexico Travel section of About.com, the "Legend of the Poinsettia" is a poem about the humble gift of love and miraculous transformations representative of the Christmas holiday. Originating in Mexico, the poem features the bright red blossoms of the poinsettia, or Flores de Noche Buena (Flowers of the Holy Night), that bloom in November and December.

The legend tells the story of a peasant child who has no money to buy a special gift for the baby Jesus, a traditional custom during Christmas Eve mass at the village church. Not wanting to appear empty handed at the manger scene, the child gathers a bouquet of weeds along the path to the church. Other children see the bunch of weeds and tease the child, but when the child places the green stems around the manger, the leaves turn bright red and form a star-like flower—the poinsettia. Everyone in the church is amazed by the miracle, and the child truly understands the meaning of her selfless gift of love.

The tale can be found in Spanish with the title "Flor de la Nochebuenao." The story is also told in the children's book "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by award-winning author and illustrator Tomie dePaola.