What side do you wear a poppy on? Why do we wear poppies for Remembrance Sunday and where to wear a poppy

Money from selling poppies goes towards supporting the Armed Forces in several ways, from financial support and advice to employment, mobility, housing and mental health.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 9:13 am

At this time of year, we start getting close to Remembrance Sunday, the day we remember the service of all those who have fought in or supported the Armed Forces.

It’s celebrated across the UK, with a special ceremony, the National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph at Whitehall in London.

The Queen, Members of both Scottish and English Governments, Opposition Party leaders, and other major politicians attend such ceremonies.

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The pin-on poppies are inspired by the red flowers that grow widely on the fields of World War One. Photo: fesusrobertphotos / Canva Pro.

Elsewhere, wreaths are often left at war memorials all over the country in remembrance of those who have died in past wars.

Here’s when Remembrance Sunday will fall this year and why wearing a poppy is the traditional way of showing your support.

When is Remembrance Sunday?

Remembrance Sunday takes place on the second Sunday of November, the Sunday closest to November 11th, which was Armistice Day and therefore the anniversary of the end of World War One.

This year marks 100 years of the Poppy, our national symbol of Remembrance. Photo: Lisa Ferguson.

In 2021, this means Remembrance Sunday is on November 14th.

Most ceremonies take place at 11am, with a national moment of silence also taking place for one minute at this time.

Why is a poppy a symbol of Remembrance Sunday?

You may notice more and more people wearing poppies pinned to their clothing in the run up to Remembrance Sunday.

A poppy is the traditional symbol of Remembrance Sunday, inspired by the poem, In Flanders Fields, by Lt Colonel John McCrae.

The first few lines of the poem read:

"In Flanders' Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place...”

Poppies grew widely across the battlefields after World War One ended and so have often been connected to fallen soldiers since then.

Poppy seeds can stay intact for years and thrive when in disturbed soil and exposed to bright light.

This is why the poppies grew so widely after World War One, as the seeds were compressed during fighting and then disturbed when the fields were ploughed after the fighting ended.

In botanical terms, red poppies also symbolise consolation, remembrance, and death.

The flowers have been placed on tombstones to represent eternal sleep.

When do you start wearing a poppy?

The poppy should be worn during the Remembrance period, which lasts from the last Friday in October until November 11th.

The British Legion also recommends wearing poppies during memorial events, such as funerals for members of the Armed Forces.

Where to buy a poppy

Buying a red poppy to pin on your clothing raises money for charity.

Various charities sell them, but the most common is the Poppy Appeal, or the Scottish Poppy Appeal.

In Scotland, the poppies are made by Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

The Factory employs disabled veterans to hand-make two million poppies and over 10,000 wreaths each year.

The money raised by selling poppies goes to supporting the community of the Armed Forces in six areas: financial support, advice, employment, mobility, housing, and mental health.

If you buy a Scottish Poppy Appeal poppy, then the money is spent on Scottish communities.

Where to wear a poppy

Traditionally, poppies should be worn on your left-hand side.

This is because they are to remember our fallen loved ones, so should be kept close to our hearts.

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