I was reading about the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico and learned that the yellow marigold flower is a central theme in its celebrations. And I also read that it's traditionally called by its Classical Nahuatl name, cempasúchitl. But that sounds like such a difficult word to pronounce! I don't mind learning it but I am really curious to know if it's really the most commonly used name for this flower in Mexico or do they prefer the regular Spanish name, maravilla? I just want to know which of the two words am I more likely to hear in Mexico out of the context of this festival, say at a flower shop. Also, some websites spell it as zempasúchitl; which of the two is "more correct"?

  • 1
    cempasúchil is the spelling that the RAE recognizes, but Wikipedia lists a number of minor variations on it. Sep 29, 2014 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


This flower in Mexico is called Cempasúchil, Cempasúchitl is the nahuatl name. If there are other names, I've never heard them before, I didn't know that was called maravilla in Spain.

Words written with final "tl" have two options of pronunciation:

-tl: yes, hard to pronounce.


-l: just an l or lt, but in this case only for extremely common words, for example "Xóchitl" is a female name but I've never heard someone saying it as "Sochitl"[the X sounds S], I've allways heard and said "Sóchil" or "Sóchilt"[Names can be written sightly different from the pronunciation]. Remember, this is not a correct pronunciation, it appears in some words and is ok but if you see a word "tl" say it as it written.

And the Zempasúchitl, is a misspelling, I found a couple of English sites that have that Z but it can be an archaism, old writing, all the antiques "ze" and "zi" now is "ce" and "ci".

  • @Glor just for curiosity: are you editing these old posts following some patterns (like fixing old URLs and stuff you did in the past) or just randomly?
    – fedorqui
    Jun 7, 2020 at 14:56
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    @fedorqui'SOstopharming' this is indeed based on frequently misspelled words (though I edit the odd HNQ post as well)
    – Glorfindel
    Jun 7, 2020 at 15:02
  • @Glorfindel OK, I was curious about this one: spanish.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/20786
    – fedorqui
    Jun 7, 2020 at 15:05

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