The Land of the Eternal Spring

flor de noche buena

This photo of a flor de pascua plant (Poinsettias) was taken in my garden, next to the driveway. I did not plant it, nor I have done anything to maintain it. We could just summarize the situation of the plant as this: An “undocumented alien” in my garden, which is very welcomed. Poinsettias bloom from October through February in this part of the world.

Some say it was Guatemala that gave the Flor de Pascua to the world, but others say it originated in Mexico, where it was named after U.S. Ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsett, who took it to the U.S. in the early 19th century. —Quoted from an article by Joy Houston in the December 2005 edition, page 16 of Revue Magazine (available as a PDF download).

So there you have it, flor de noche buena is another item that creates controversy about its origins and that is the reason I prefer the term Mesoamerica, which roughly extends from Tropic of Cancer in central Mexico down through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica (click on Mesoamerica link to view a map of the area). This way we can obviate all the polemic assumptions of using modern political borders to an area that was historically and culturally divided differently in the past.

Nothing should create more controversy than the title of this post, which is the slogan for Guatemala, the land of the eternal spring. Why? Well, let’s see, the slogan refers to the fact that in Guatemala flowers are always blooming and flowers normally blossom in the Spring season; so far so good. The only problem here is that Guatemala does not have a spring season. Guatemala is the northern hemisphere, regardless of what our friends to the north of the Rí­o Bravo may think, and therefore should have a spring season that starts in March 21st, a summer the starts on June 21, an autumn that begins on September 21st, and a winter commencing on December 21st. But Guatemala is also in the tropics and all seasons get blur here. So, Guatemala only has two seasons: summer and winter. Now to add to the confusion, many Guatemalans call the rainy season invierno (winter), even though the rain falls in the summer months, they call the dry season verano (summer), which begins at the end of October and ends in April; clearly these months belong to the autunm, winter and spring seasons. Have I confused you yet?

I wonder who came up with this slogan, can anybody help here?

© 2006 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • LOL! You’ll also find poinsettias growing all over the sub-tropical “Island of Eternal Spring” as Tenerife is frequently called. I just can’t believe we did this today Rudy. Do you mind read? 🙂 I posted my shot over three hours ago and had not seen yours until now. I’m sure you had not seen mine either, because you would have mentioned it.

  • Meg

    The slogan? Probably a tourism organization/ministry. I never realized how far up north you are until just now! Maybe the people who decided to call the rainy season winter wanted Guatemala to be part of South America. Thanks so much for the tips about Guatemalan Textile places of interest.

  • Chantal

    tsk, rudy – mesoamerica hasn’t existed for nearly 500 years (me disgruntled ex-archaeologist). but a convenient term, yes…

    pssssst – you can find the answer on http://www.revuemag.com, it’s an article written by dwight wayne coop. but it may have been archived by now – ?!??!!

  • Andrés

    I’ve been living in Europe for over 5 years now, and had never noticed how illogical the seasons are back home. It really ticks me off when I am back home and during the warm months people talk about how it is invierno. My parents and I have had enough of these endless conversations about why it is called that way, over a couple cold Cabros :-).

    As for the slogan, as far as I remember, we are called the land of eternal spring simply because everything is always green – well, trees and plants, not grass out in the fields.

  • Sompopo

    My wifes name is “Flor De Maria”. For me the most beautiful Flower in the world. From one of the most beautiful countries in the world. 🙂

  • Joel R. Poinsett was a lousy first ambassador to Mexico, so it’s good that he at least had a green thumb and brought the plant to the U.S. I’ve never heard of any other origin.

  • I remember seeing them all over the place around Christmas time in Costa Rica when I lived there.

    We also have poinsettias growing pretty wild and tall in gardens in Sydney.
    As for the names winter and summer, the same applies in many tropical regions where it rains during the hot, humid season and the dry season is also a cooler one!

  • Nice to see a poinsettia plant outside! As a gardener (family business) we cultivated these for many years. They usually arrived to our greenhouses in early August. And right about now they are ready. I’m adding alink to a photo to a photo I took last week.

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