On the Day of the Dead, the cempasúchil flower becomes a fundamental component. This flower whose name comes from the Náhualt, "cempoalxochitl", and means, "flower of twenty petals", has become a symbol of the offering of this important day.
It is said that the smell of the petals marks the path that the souls of the deceased have to travel towards their offering in the world of the living. This love-themed legend tries to explain the origin of this special flower.
The legend says that a long time ago, there was a girl named Xochitl and a boy named Huitzilin.
The two grew up together, and spent a lot of time together during their childhood, and even began a love affair during their youth. One day, they decided to climb to the top of a hill, where the sun was shining brightly, because they knew that the Sun God lived there. Their intention was to ask Tonatiuh to give them a blessing so they could continue to be united. The Sun God accepted and blessed their love.
Soon, tragedy came to them when Huitzilin was sent to participate in a battle to defend his people, and had to separate from Xochitl.
Some time passed, and Xóchitl learned that her beloved had perished in the conflict. The girl felt so much pain that she asked Tonatiuh to join her beloved in eternity. The Sun God, seeing the young girl in such grief, decided to turn her into a beautiful flower. So he cast a golden ray on her, then, a bud grew in the earth, which remained closed for a long time.
One day, a hummingbird appeared, attracted by the scent of the flower, and landed on its leaves. It was then that the flower opened, and showed its yellow color, like the sun itself. The flower had recognized its beloved Huitzilin, who was now in the form of a hummingbird.
Legend has it that as long as the marigold flower exists and there are hummingbirds, the love of Xochitl and Huitzilin will live forever.