The legend of the Cempasúchil flower, a symbol of the Day of the Dead


The Cempasúchil flower is one of the main elements of the Day of the Dead, during this popular Mexican celebration these flowers adorn the altars and they are one of the most representative elements of the offerings for the dead. It is believed that the aroma of this flower guides the souls of the deceased on the way to the offering that awaits them in the world of the living. To do this, paths must be made with its petals, from the main road to the altar of the house.

Its name comes from the Nahuatl "Cempohualxochitl" which means "twenty flowers" or "several flowers". This beautiful flower has had a ceremonial character for hundreds of years; during pre-Hispanic times, the Mexica people associated its yellow color with the sun, therefore, they used it in altars, offerings and burials dedicated to their dead. Around this flower there is a beautiful love story, which is remembered during the celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Legend has it that a long time ago, two children were born on the same day: Xochitl and Huitzilin, who grew up together and when they reached adulthood fell in love. Their affection was so great that one day they decided to climb to the top of a hill where the sun dazzled with particular strength, because it was known that the Sun God lived there, to ask for his blessing. Tonatiuh, the Sun God, gave them his blessing and approved their marriage. Unfortunately, tragedy came to them unexpectedly when Huitzilin was called to participate in a battle to defend his people and died. Her grief was so great that she decided to ask Tonatiuh with all her strength to unite her with her beloved for all eternity. The god, seeing her so afflicted, turned her into a beautiful flower with a beautiful and tender bud that remained closed for a long time.

One fine day, a hummingbird approached it attracted by its sweet scent and landed on its leaves. The flower opened and showed a beautiful golden color, radiant as the sun itself. It was a beautiful Cempasúchil flower, an unmistakable flower with twenty petals. That flower was Xochitl, who had recognized her beloved Huitzilin! The young man had returned to his beloved in the form of a hummingbird. It is said that the love of the Aztec couple will remain, as long as there are hummingbirds and cempasúchil flowers in the Mexican fields.

And so the legend of the cempasúchil flower was born and the belief that its aroma guides the people who left, and thus reunite us with our loved ones, as did Xochitl and Huitzilin.


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