12 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas

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Here in the United States, we have our own set of Christmas traditions: Santa Claus comes down the chimney, eats a cookie left out for him by eager children, and drops off loads of presents for the kids who have been nice that year. And, of course, everyone has their own unique cultural background which contributes to their festive holiday celebrations. 

Around the world, familias celebrate the holidays a little bit differently. Here are 12 fun facts about Latin America and Christmas: 

 

1. Origins of the Poinsettia: 

Did you know the most popular Christmas flower originated in Latin America? While he served as the U.S. Minster to Mexico, Dr. Joel Robert Poinsett first laid eyes on a gorgeous crimson flower. In Mexico, the natives called it the “Flor de Noche Buena.” He shipped back samples of the plant to his native U.S. in 1936. Americans took a liking to the flower and nicknamed it the “Poinsettia", after the man who "discovered" it. The beautiful flower is now an ubiquitous symbol of the Christmas season in the United States. 

 

2. Presents...and fireworks? 

In America, we traditionally associate firecrackers with the Fourth of July or New Years Eve...but not with Christmas. However, in parts of Latin America, specifically El Salvador, the whistling sound of ignited fireworks is a pleasant reminder that it's Christmastime. Traditionally, during this time of the year, Salvadorian streets are littered with the paper remants of launched fireworks. 

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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