Christmas is coming, and like every year, in every part of the world, we are preparing to decorate our home with colorful decorations, some of which derive directly from the plant world. Most of the plants used as Christmas wishes are part of the tradition, generally they derive their popularity from legends or more or less ancient myths; their success is mainly due to the fact that at this time of the year they have bright foliage, or are in full bloom, or still have berries or decorative fruits.
We were saying, these plants are many, from the fir to the holly, from the Christmas star to the mistletoe; for each of them the fact of being used as a Christmas decoration has an explanation that has its roots in ancient traditions, or in more modern legends; in any case it is always a profound symbolic meaning, which accompanies and makes the Christmas gifts more fascinating.
Egyptians, Greeks and Romans considered the silver fir to be the tree of the nativity, it was used in the feasts in which the moon was celebrated, bearer of news and children; for the ancient Germanic and Celtic populations the fir is the cosmic tree, and from some populations it was anciently used to celebrate the birth of the divine child. The use of this plant in sacred festivals was lost in Italy, and then recovered only in 1800, introduced by the French court. Therefore, to celebrate the birth of Christ, an ancient custom was reintroduced, superimposing on the ancient cults a Christian meaning.
The Celtic tradition has led to the present day the use of mistletoe during the Christmas period; according to the Druidic religion the mistletoe was generated by lightning when they hit the trees, particularly the oaks; for this reason they considered it a manifestation of the divine on earth, and therefore used it as a panacea, to heal all ills. Later, as often happens, mistletoe was introduced into Christian churches as a representation of Christ himself.
Plants Nalate: Christmas star
This plant of Mexican origin has now become a typical Christmas decoration also in Europe, widely used also as an auspicious homage, given the bright colors of the large inflorescences. The South American legend tells that a child, present at the birth of Jesus, eager to give something to the child, took a flower from the nearby bushes, this flower was a Christmas star, a very common plant in Central America; this legend links to similar legends present throughout the Christian world, which invite us to make even simple gifts for the birth of Jesus, given that what matters is not the expense faced to buy the gift, but the thought towards the people who there are dear.
Starting from this noble principle, the use of Christmas stars has spread throughout the West, given the flashy effect they guarantee.
These are semi-succulent plants, belonging to the euphorbia genus; during the winter they prefer a climate that is not too hot, a good environmental humidity and short days; in fact flowering in nature occurs with the shortening of the days due to autumn.
To best cultivate our Christmas stars we place them in a not too heated room, for example a stairwell can be very suitable, and remember to spray the hair at least every day, using distilled water. We water only when the soil is dry, avoiding excessively soaking the soil. These plants, if well cultivated, can thrive for years; if we have a Christmas star last year, to encourage flowering, place it in a room where it receives only the light of day, avoiding artificial lighting; or we can remember to cover the plant with a bag every evening and discover it every morning. After flowering we lightly prune the plant, removing all withered inflorescences.