The UK Rules
Wearing Remembrance Poppies

Wearing a Poppy Etiquette UK

Why do we use poppies to remember the war? In fact, it was the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields" which inspired the wearing of poppies. The wartime poem refers to the first flowers which grew wild from the earth of soldiers' graves.

WEARING REMEMBRANCE POPPIES: The flower is the red poppy.

The location is Flanders Fields. It is a region of Europe found in the north of Belgium and Northern France.

Some of the deadliest World War One battles took place in this region, and as a result, many men died.

Poppies are delicate and hardy tough flowers, able to grow almost anywhere. Perhaps a fitting emblem to represent and remember those who died in conflict.

A red remembrance poppy is not a real flower but an artificial one. It represents the common field poppy called Papaver rhoeas. We have used remembrance poppies since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who died during war.

The Royal British Legion is a UK charity providing lifelong support for the British Armed Forces community.

The Royal British Legion help to serve men and women, veterans, and their families. You can contact the RBL Head Office and postal address at 199 Borough High Street London SE1 1AA.

How Should You Wear Your Poppy?

In essence there is no single right or wrong way to wear a poppy. Poppy wearing etiquette allows personal choice to be the accepted norm. Whether you wear one or not, and how you decide to wear it, is up to each individual.

What Side Do You Wear a Poppy On?

According to poppy etiquette most individuals wear the flower on the left side of their torso. Some say it feels closer to the heart.

There are those who suggest men should pin it to their left lapel, like military medals or a boutonnière. While women might wear it on the right side like a badge or a brooch.

Myths about Poppies
It is a myth that only members of the Royal Family can wear their poppy on the right side. It is also a myth that the poppy leaf should point to 11 o'clock. The Queen follows poppy wearing etiquette by wearing them on her left side. The red poppy is an emblem of remembrance and hope - not 'blood' red.

The RBL also see no reason not to wear white poppies. They have no conflict with people wearing a red poppy alongside a white poppy.

But, the British Legion say you should always wear your remembrance day poppy with pride.

What Do the Different Coloured Poppies Mean?

Poppy Etiquette: Why Do We Use Poppies to Remember the War?A bright red poppy represents the traditional poppy appeal. Charities and organisations sell millions of red poppies every year.

Proceeds from poppy donations go to the Royal British Legion. Red poppies are the most common sold during the November remembrance week.

You can also wear a white poppy. White poppies emphasize a lasting commitment to peace and have been in circulation since 1933.

White poppies commemorate civilian and military lives lost as a result of conflict. But, some critics argue that white poppy donations draw funds away from the RBL appeal.

Some animal charities produced a purple poppy in 2006. It represents animals as victims - not heroes. The lives of animals get taken 'without choice' in wartime.

Purple poppies commemorated animals killed in wartime conflicts, but the purple paw replaced it. People wear a purple paw any time of year to remember all animals 'exploited' by humans.

When Should I Wear a Poppy?

There are many public controversies about the history of the United Kingdom. As a rule, the Royal British Legion poppy appeal starts towards the end of October each year. That is the time when you should wear a poppy.

It is not uncommon to wear them for the 2 weeks leading up to Armistice Day (November 11th). Remembrance Sunday falls on the same date or the first Sunday following Armistice Day. That's why people wear poppies.


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Poppy Wearing Etiquette in Scotland

Despite being the same symbol of remembrance, poppies in Scotland have no poppy leaf and four petals. This is because different organisations produce them.

The Royal British Legion produces poppies in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Whereas, 'Poppyscotland' produces different poppies for sale in Scotland.

Note: Disabled veterans are among the people making the Scottish poppy badge inside a factory in Edinburgh.

Poppy Controversy: Are Poppies Political Symbols?

The poppy controversy with football hit the news headlines in the United Kingdom again. The FIFA poppies ban aims to stop players wearing poppies on international football jerseys.

But, the English FA said England players will wear armbands with embroidered poppy emblems. The armbands worn during an international football game played on November the 11th will be in honour of the war-dead.

Poppy Etiquette: Explaining the Rules for Wearing Poppies