Origin of the Poppy

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2019 / educational / recommended
We all know the poppy as a bright and elegant red flower used to remind us of the soldiers whose lives were lost at war. Over the last century, generations have sported the poppy over their hearts on Remembrance Day as an ode to these brave soldiers.
The symbol of the poppy as a sign of remembrance was originally inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields written by Canadian Lieutnant Colonel John McCrae in 1915 in honour of a friend lost during the First World War.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

 Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Within the first few lines, In Flanders Fields illustrates how poppies grew over the graves of the fallen soldiers throughout Western Europe. The poppy became a symbol of hope and resilience as their beauty grew throughout the destruction of the warzone, colonizing the corn fields known as Flanders Fields.
Moina Michael, an American poet, was inspired by McCrae’s now-famous poem and began wearing as well as distributing poppies in honour of the brave lives lost. The first official poppy day was held in the UK on the third anniversary of Armistice Day on November 11th, 1918, three years after the end of World War One, and has since become the Remembrance Day as we know it. Since then, millions of poppies are charitably sold each year in support of our Veterans and in remembrance of the fallen soldiers.

Fun Facts about the Poppy Flower

Here are some additional facts on the poppy flower itself:
1) During World War One, the poppy disappeared for four full seasons due to the destruction, then began to grow back and flourish amidst the rubble, being one of the only wild flowers to do so.
2) On agricultural land, poppies are seen as weeds, but are welcomed as they are a sign of fertile soils.
3) According to Greek and Roman mythology, poppies represent sleep and death, and were used on tombstones to represent eternal sleep.
4) Poppies are considered the flower of love, according to Persian literature.
5) There are 10, 000 to 60, 000 seeds per poppy plant.
6) Poppy seeds contain opium, which is used in medical opiates such as morphine.
7) A poppy’s seeds can remain active in soil for 8 years.
8) The poppy blooms from mid-June through October.


~ Please join us wherever you are, to take a moment today at 11:00 in Remembrance for all those BRAVE Men and Women who gave their lives for our freedom ~