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December 12 commemorates the poinsettia (a.k.a. poinsetta) — the most popular holiday plant, which is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. December 12 has been officially designated by the U.S. Congress as National Poinsettia Day in honor of the first Ambassador to the new Republic of Mexico, Joel Poinsett of South Carolina, as well as of American businessman, Paul Ecke Jr., who later successfully marketed the poinsettia worldwide.
Read more about this Mexican plant and Mexican holiday traditions in an online article "Poinsettias, Posadas, Piñatas, Pathways of Light: Holiday Traditions from Mexico" at http://edsitement.neh.gov/feature/poinsettias-posadas-pinatas-pathways-l... .