December 18, 2023
By Maddy Hogan
The holiday season is a time when cultures worldwide come together to celebrate with unique customs and traditions. One fascinating aspect of these festivities is the role that plants play in different cultures. From symbolic greenery to festive foliage, Riza’s team wants to take you all on a journey around the globe to discover how various communities incorporate plants into their holiday traditions.
In Mexico, the vibrant red and green leaves of the poinsettia plant are synonymous with Christmas. Legend has it that a young girl, unable to offer a gift to the baby Jesus, picked weeds from the roadside. Miraculously, these weeds transformed into the beautiful poinsettia flowers we know today. In Mexico, these "Flores de Noche Buena" (Flowers of the Holy Night) are used to decorate homes and churches during the holiday season.
In Japan, the New Year is a significant celebration, and the kadomatsu, a traditional decoration made of pine, bamboo, and sometimes plum branches, holds special importance. The pine represents longevity, bamboo symbolizes strength, and plum branches signify prosperity. Placed at the entrances of homes, the kadomatsu is believed to invite ancestral spirits and bring good fortune for the coming year.
While much of the world experiences winter during Christmas, Brazil is enjoying summer. The Christmas cactus, native to the country's rainforests, blooms in brilliant shades of pink and red during the holiday season. Brazilians often use these colorful cacti as festive decorations and gifts, adding a tropical touch to their Christmas celebrations.
In many European countries, the Yule log tradition involves burning a large log, often from a fruit-bearing tree like cherry or apple, in the fireplace. This practice symbolizes the continuity of life, the return of the sun, and protection from evil spirits. The ashes are sometimes kept to protect the home throughout the year.
In Chinese culture, the Jade Plant is believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and positive energy. During the Chinese New Year, these sturdy succulents are placed near entrances and windows to invite wealth into homes. The round leaves are said to resemble coins, making them an auspicious addition to the festive decor.
In England, the Christmas season is adorned with holly and ivy. Holly, with its prickly leaves and red berries, symbolizes the masculine, while the smooth, winding vines of ivy represent the feminine. Bringing these plants into the home is believed to bring balance and ensure a harmonious transition into the new year.
During Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, olive trees hold special significance in Israel. The oil extracted from olives is used to light the menorah, symbolizing the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days instead of one. Olive branches are also used in decorations, signifying peace and hope for the future.
At Riza, we immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of holiday plant traditions from around the world. It is evident that nature plays a crucial role in connecting people, cultures, and generations. Whether it's the warm glow of a Yule log, the vibrant hues of poinsettias, or the symbolic significance of the kadomatsu, these plant customs remind us of the universal beauty and meaning found in our shared celebrations. So, as you adorn your home with festive greenery this holiday season after a trip to Riza Plants in downtown Napa, take a moment to appreciate the cultural stories and traditions that have shaped these botanical celebrations across the globe.
Happy Holidays from the Riza Plants team!
1300 1st Street Suite 355
Napa California 94559
PHONE: (707) 637-4388
*In the alleyway in-between Eikos and Copperfield books.
ROOTED IN NAPA
Riza (noun); Greek for ‘Roots’. Riza’s mission is to connect people through plants. We handpick the highest quality plants, ceramics, and indoor garden supplies for our customers, and consider ourselves a hub for all things relating to indoor plants. Whether you want to connect more with nature, brighten up your living space, or learn about caring for your new indoor plant, we take the time to work with your skill level and environment to find the perfect piece of greenery.