Poppies or Rosemary?

A conversation with a parent of Jacaranda who was born in Canada started me thinking – why poppies and Rosemary.

The parent was telling me how for Rememberence Day in Canada everyone wears a red Poppy.  We talked about how in Australia it is traditional to wear Rosemary.

Was it the season when we remember these events?  But that can’t be right as they are both celebrated or remembered in Autumn – April in Australia and November in Canada.

So, like a good little teacher I googled it.

It it is very simple – in history and folklore the Poppy is for Sacrifice and Rosemary is for rememberence.

anzacday.org.au says that

This plant (Rosemary) was, in ancient times, supposed to strengthen memory. Greek scholars wore rosemary in their hair to help remember their studies, and the association with remembrance has carried through to modern times. In literature and folklore it is an emblem of remembrance.


The modern story of the poppy is, of course, no legend. In the years immediately following World War 1, governments and the whole of society, had not accepted the responsibility for those incapacitated and bereft as a result of war.

In 1921, a group of widows of French ex-servicemen called at the British Legion Headquarters. They brought with them from France some poppies they had made, and suggested that they might be sold as a means of raising money to aid the distressed among those who were incapacitated as a result of the war. The first red poppies to come to Australia, in 1921, were made in France.

So this, the centenary of battle of Gallipoli, we use both. Rosemary and the Poppy.

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