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The flower of cempasúchil

Day of the dead, a very lively tradition

Imagen de The flower of cempasúchil

Luminaries from the road to eternity. Flowers have the meaning that each of us gives them. That power of nature that breaks into the earth and captivates us with its beauty can only be of divine creation. Therefore, with flowers of cempasúchil we dress the path that will go through the souls of the people who left before us.

A flower is a symbol of life. The cempasúchil flower is the queen of the Day of the Dead festival. It is endemic to Mexico and with its splendor fills the homes, altars, streets and cultural centers, as well as the pantheons to illuminate life and to illuminate death.

Its Nahuatl name is: ""Cempohualxochitl"" or ""Zempoalxóchitl""
Its scientific name: Tagetes erecta
It means twenty flower, flower of twenty petals or many flowers.
Its flower is between 30 and 1.10 cm, orange tone and in some cases yellowish. The most intense orange tones of the flowers are related to a higher content of carotenoids.
It flourishes during the summer and autumn.
It loves to live in rainforests and forests.
It was mentioned for the first time in the 16th century, in the Fiorentino codex.

In Mexico, families tend to decorate the offerings with the petals of these flowers that are believed to illuminate the dead, their souls, their coming.

Its aroma is unique, reason why is considered to be also useful for the dead as they return to their homes, to reunite with their families and loved ones.

Millions of cempasúchil flowers are planted every year in the country. Chiapas, Morelos, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Veracruz are the main states of Mexico that commercialize this flower. More than 15 tons are distributed on time throughout the country, to adorn altars, offerings and other uses in exuberant ornaments, gardens, avenues, streets and tombs.

The cempasúchil is considered to be a very Mexican flower and there are 30 varieties of it spread throughout the country in the following states: Aguascalientes, Campeche, Chiapas, Coahuila, Colima, Mexico City, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, State of Mexico, Morelos, Nayarit, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Yucatan and Zacatecas. It can also be found outside of Mexico, in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Currently it is used as organic pigment in chicken food, in oils for their antioxidant properties, as an insecticide to protect crops, and obviously as natural fertilizer.

In history it has maintained its leading role in religious rituals such as the month Teculhuitontli, where the goddess of salt Huixtocíhuatl was celebrated. The assistants to this ceremony carried in their hands some cempoalxóchitl.

Its petals were like sunlight for Mexicans.

This flower of the dead was also used as a cure for digestive ailments or respiratory ailments. It is believed that it keeps away “bad intentions”.

If you see one, smile to it!


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