Discover the legend behind the flower of Cempasúchi from Mexico

Mexico wears orange this season with the flower of Cempasúchil. In this article, we share with you the meaning and the legend behind this flower.

We are now in Mexico experiencing one of the most important traditions of the country: the Day of the Death.
Cempasúchil also referred as ‘flor de muerto’ which means flower of the death. You can see it everywhere since it’s one of the most representative elements of the Day of the Death in Mexico happening on November 1st & 2nd.

Cempasúchil is the flower’s given name in Nahuatl (the language of the aztecs) and translates to mean the “twenty flowers” —cempa–xochitl— colloquially referred to as “flor de muerto” and is appointed as the flower-of-choice on every Day of the Death ofrenda.

An ofrenda is the offering placed in a home altar during the annual and traditionally Mexican Día de los Muertos celebration. An ofrenda, which may be quite large and elaborate, is usually created by the family members of a person who has died and is intended to welcome the deceased to the altar setting. 

This flower is also known in english as Marigold and it is an integral part of every ofrenda, and according to Mexican folklore the fragrance and color of these flowers guide the spirits to their altars. The flowers are also used to decorate graves, archways, crucifixes, and women sometimes wear the flower-heads in their hair as part of the traditional Catrina costume.

The petals are traditionally used to create a pathway that leads from the street into the home, and onward the altar itself.

The legend behind Cempasúchil tells a love story:

It began when two aztecs Xóchitl and Huitzilin were little. They used to play together and particularly enjoyed hiking to the top of a near mountain where they would offer flowers to the Sun God Tonatiuh.
When war broke out, the lovers were separated as Huitzilin headed to fight and protect their homeland. His death devastated Xóchitl and she decided to walk one last time to the top of the mountain and implore the Sun God Tonatiuh, to somehow join with her love Huitzilin. The sun moved by her prayers and threw a ray that gently touched the young girl’s cheek. Instantly she turned into a beautiful flower of fiery colors as intense as the sun’s rays.
Suddenly a hummingbird lovingly touched the center of the flower with its beak.
It was Huitzilin that was reborn as a handsome hummingbird. The flower gently opened its 20 petals, filling the air with a mysterious and lovely scent.
The lovers would be always together as long as Cempasúchil flowers and hummingbirds existed on earth.

GREENA is always inspired by nature and we couldn’t help but just talk about the meaning of this beautiful flower and its relevance in such an important tradition in Mexico.