Nerja Council will be planting 1,500 of the red ponsetia flowers (pascueros) in places such as the Balcon de Europa, Calle Pintada and the roundabouts on the approches to the town. Workers from the council’s Parks and Gardens department will put the traditional Christmas flowers in over the next week.

The councillor for Parks and Gardens, Nieves Atencia, has asked that people respect the plants saying that every year many of the poinsettias are uprooted, presumably as acts of vandalism or by people who want to take the plant back to decorate their own homes. She has also pointed out that if the plants are uprooted and replanted, they are unlikely to survive.

Last year also for the first time, pascueros were planted around the 125 year old tree in front of the church on the Balcon de Europa (pictured).

Poinsettias are popular decorations around Nerja at Christmas time with many houses, shops and restaurants decorated with them. The plant itself originates from Mexico and legend has it that its association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where a young girl was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson “blossoms” sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias and the star-shaped leaf pattern are said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.

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