The poppy flower symbolizes remembrance, death, consolation, and resurrection. Also known by its scientific name, the Papaver somniferum, the poppy flower is one of the most prolific flowers to grow in the wild. Poppy flowers have a powerful connection to Greek mythology as well.
So, what is a brief history of the poppy flower, and what does it symbolize? Why is the poppy a unique flower, and what is Poppy Day? What does the different color of poppy flowers mean and symbolize? Finally, what are some interesting facts about this type of flower?
Here is the complete guide to what a poppy flower means.
A Brief History of the Poppy Flower
According to some sources, poppy flowers were cultivated back in 2700 B.C. in the Mediterranean Basin. They were cultivated and grown for their medicinal properties and were eventually used to make sedatives and pain relievers such as morphine and codeine.
In ancient Assyrian culture, the poppy flower was called “the daughter of the fields” and became associated with fertility and death. Morphine, derived from poppies, was named after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus.
According to the ancient Greek myth, the gods gave the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, poppies to aid her in sleep as she was grieving the loss of her daughter Persephone. From then on, poppies grew wherever her feet trod. Other Greek gods are often depicted with the poppy flower, such as Nyx, the goddess of night, and Hypnos, the god of sleep.
What Does a Poppy Flower Symbolize?
Poppy flowers symbolize remembrance, death, hope, resurrection, and eternal sleep. Poppy flowers also have a connection to several Greek gods and godesses.
Because these flowers are negatively associated with opiates and death, the poppy flower is not the best choice to give to a romantic partner or someone you wish to woo. Instead, poppies are much better suited to give to grieving loved ones as an expression of your sympathy.
Why is the Poppy a Special Flower?
Since the battle of Flanders during the Great War, poppies have become a prolific symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers. According to some accounts, after the fight at Flanders, near the border of France and Belgium, poppy flowers began to bloom in the upturned soil over the graves of fallen soldiers and all over the battlefield. This phenomenon inspired the famous poem “In Flanders Field” by lieutenant colonel John McCrae. McCrae’s poem solidified the poppy as a symbol of death, sacrifice, and remembrance.
In 1921, Anna Guérin supplied artificial poppies from her factory to sell to raise money for the Earl Haig Fund, supporting former soldiers and the families of those who died in the war. The sales were such a success that the British Legion founded a factory that produces and sells artificial poppy flowers, and they still do today.
What is Poppy Day?
Poppy Day is the remembrance of fallen soldiers, a tradition since the first world war. Poppy Day is recognized as November 11, the same day as Veterans Day. You may have heard Poppy Day referred to as Remembrance Day. Those who participate in Poppy Day wear a red poppy as a symbol of respect for all the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in war.
Poppy Day happens the Friday before Memorial Day in the United States.
What Do Blue Poppies Mean?
One of the rare colors, blue poppies, grows naturally in the Himalayas and other parts of Europe. These blue wildflowers symbolize faith in the divine and angels’ messages. Blue poppies can also evoke spiritual and creative inspiration.
These flowers make a beautiful bouquet and are the perfect gift for loved ones who need inspiration or encouragement. Blue poppies also make elegant wedding decorations as it evokes ethereal vibes.
What Do Red Poppies Mean?
Red poppies symbolize remembrance, death, and resurrection. Many people honor fallen soldiers on Poppy Day by wearing red poppies, a token of sacrifice and selflessness. These beautiful flowers are placed on gravesides and tombstones to keep loved ones who have passed away.
In Christian tradition, the red poppy evokes the image of the blood of Christ. In some Asian cultures, the red poppy has much less somber associations as it symbolizes good luck and even true love.
What Do Purple Poppies Mean?
Purple is often a color associated with royalty, and the purple poppy symbolizes the majesty and elegance associated with royalty. Purple poppies also symbolize a connection with your artistic inspiration. These flowers are the perfect gift to give to loved ones on their birthday or other special occasions to communicate your appreciation for their unique personality and to inspire them to connect to their creative side.
What Do Yellow Poppies Mean?
The bright and cheerful hue of the yellow poppy symbolizes optimism, hope, and joy. A bouquet of yellow poppies makes a perfect birthday bouquet or get-well gift.
Yellow poppies are also an excellent way to light up a room or decorate for a wedding. While the poppy is commonly resembles death, the yellow poppy symbolizes a more positive outlook on life and death.
While yellow poppies are commonly associated with lighter ideas, the yellow poppy is often a symbol. For example, family members will place a yellow poppy on a tomb of a loved one who fell in the line of duty. The symbolism behind this flower is to remember better times that they had.
What Do Pink Poppies Mean?
Pink poppies symbolize platonic and romantic love, compassion, and peaceful sleep. You can give these flowers to your partner for Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary. A bouquet of pink poppies is an excellent gift for moms on Mother’s Day or a friend’s birthday.
Placing a bouquet of pink poppies at your bedside can help create a calm and peaceful atmosphere and promote good sleep.
What are Some Interesting Facts about the Poppy Flower?
- In Victorian England, the poppy symbolized eternal sleep
- Poppies are also found in ancient Egyptian tombs, possibly resembling respect for the gods.
- In the popular movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions fall asleep in a field of poppies.
- The poppy flower is also a symbol recognizing the horrors of the first world war, mainly linked with Armistice Day.
- This type of flower blooms in the late spring
- The California Poppy is the official state flower of California
Conclusion: What Does a Poppy Flower Mean?
In summary, poppy flowers symbolize remembrance, sacrifice, death, and resurrection. The red poppy flower has become a symbol of fallen soldiers’ sacrifice in war and is worn on Poppy Day, a day dedicated to remembering soldiers’ bravery and death.
Different colors of poppy flowers can have different meanings, such as romantic love and compassion or faith and death. The range of meanings that the poppy flower represents makes them a versatile choice to add to a bouquet for many occasions.