What does Poppy mean? Is it a flower or a plant? What is its origin? Poppy is associated with remembrance and mourning. In ancient times, the seeds were believed to have magical powers that would bring good luck. Today, it is also known as a symbol of peace, love, and hope. So, what are the poppy’s meaning and symbolism?
Poppy Flower – Etymological Meaning
Poppy is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the poppy family Papaveraceae. The name poppies come from the Latin word pappus, meaning “swollen” or “enlarged.” It derives from the Greek word ποπφίς (po-pfís), which means “a little foot.”
What regions are Poppy flowers native to?
The poppy is native to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America. It grows in temperate regions throughout the world.
The genus Papaver contains about 100 species of annuals and perennials, including opium poppies (Papaver somniferum).
Poppies originated in Central Asia, where they were cultivated for their medicinal properties. They then spread across Eurasia and into Europe during the Bronze Age.
In the Middle Ages, poppies became an essential source of income for farmers who grew them for their oil-rich seeds. During this time, the poppy was grown primarily for its seed, to make ink. Subsequently, people realized that poppy seeds could be used to make morphine, a powerful painkiller.
Poppy Myths and Stories
The poppy is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. It is thought to have originated in Central Asia between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago.
The first recorded use of poppies for medicinal purposes took place around 2000 BC in China when they were prescribed to treat fever, coughs, stomach aches, headaches, and eye infections.
- In ancient Greece, soldiers wore poppies during the war to protect them from being blinded by their blood.
Poppies were once considered sacred to the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. He was often portrayed wearing a crown made of poppies. Poppies also symbolize eternal life and immortality. The flower is named after him because he supposedly created the poppy plant. The word “morphine” comes from the Latin morphe, meaning shape, form, or mold.
Morpheus was said to have created the poppies so that they would be able to help her sleep after Hades had abducted her. After Hades abducted her, poppies grew in her footprints.
- In Roman mythology, the god Apollo gave poppies to his lover, Hyacinthus, who was killed by a thunderbolt while trying to pick some of them.
The Romans also wore red poppies to remember those who had died during funerals. They also planted poppies in fields after battles to remind people of the sacrifices made by the soldiers.
- In ‘The Wizard of Oz, the witch’s castle was surrounded by poppy flowers meant to put trespassers asleep. Although, in reality, the smell of poppies does not put you to sleep, the tale takes advantage of the sleep and death symbolism associated with the poppy flower.
Poppy Meaning and Symbolism
Similarly to Chrysanthemums , Poppy flowers have initially been used to symbolize death because they bloom in the silence of the night. But today, they’re also used to symbolize peace, love, and sleep, and they are used as symbols of friendship and loyalty. Because they bloom at night, they are often thought of as a sign of good luck.
After World War I, poppies became associated with peace, sacrifice, and remembrance. It is common to see purple poppies grow near the graves of those who died fighting for freedom. They are perennials, so it’s one of those flowers that will bloom again after each year. Poppies are still grown today as a symbol of remembrance.
Red Poppy Day is an annual event held on 4 November in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other countries across the globe.
After World War I started in northern France, poppies became associated with the idea of peace and sacrifice for the betterment of humanity. After the battle, red poppies grew around the bodies of the dead soldiers. Red poppies are believed to represent respect for fallen soldiers when used during war commemorations. The Oriental poppy flower is also sometimes employed for this purpose.
Today, the color red is symbolic of bloodshed in the name of love and peace. Red poppies are often seen hanging over cemeteries. This is because they have come to symbolize the lives lost during wars. In addition, red poppies can be seen growing around memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Pink Poppy meaning and symbolism
Pinks aren’t the most commonly found poppies, but they still bring a lot of meaning to the table and hold a special place in our hearts. Along with the blue poppy, pinks are associated with luxury, success, and imagination. Pink poppies are more challenging to come across than other colors like reds and purples, though.
White Poppy meaning and symbolism
White poppies are associated with remembrance and peace. They are often tied around gravesites and memorials in the East. For that reason, you’ll often see them at funeral services and memorials. Monks first cultivated white poppies in the Middle Ages to help ease the pain of war veterans.
Red Poppy meaning and symbolism
Red Poppy Flowers are often associated with Remembrance Day and are used to remember fallen soldiers. They are also used to symbolize Love and Success. In Eastern Cultures, Red Flowers like Poppies are usually Symbols of Romantic Love and Success. A stark contrast to the somber Western Poppy Symbolism.
What is the Cultural Significance of the Poppies?
Poppies are an important symbol of peace. They were first cultivated by the ancient Chinese around 3000 BC and brought to Europe during the Middle Ages when they became associated with Christianity.
During World War I, the British government encouraged women to wear pink dresses to promote patriotism. The British government adopted the poppy flower as its official symbol to commemorate the occasion.
Today, the poppy flower is widely recognized as a symbol of remembrance and honor. During the Second World War, the British Empire sent thousands of poppies to all corners of the world. These poppies were then distributed among troops serving overseas. The white-colored poppies were given to men while the red ones went to women.
The flower was associated with death, loss, and deep sleep during Victorian times. Artificial ones were first sold in Britain in 1921 to raise money to help veterans of World War I. The woman who invented them is now remembered as the creator of “Poppy Day.” Poppies are still widely worn today as a symbol of remembrance during Remembrance Sunday.