Skip to content
Golden Charter > News & Advice > What does the poppy symbolise? A tradition explained

What does the poppy symbolise? A tradition explained

02 Nov 2023 | 1 min read time

For over 100 years, the poppy has been an enduring symbol of Remembrance. It represents all those who have lost their lives in service, in all conflicts from the First World War to present day.

Every year, particularly in the weeks surrounding Armistice Day, many members of the public choose to wear a poppy as a show of appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces community.

The origins of the tradition date back to the First World War.

The origins of the poppy

Throughout WWI, much of the countryside in Western Europe was constantly subjected to blasts, bombings, and fighting. As a result, these landscapes were effectively barren- with the exception, of course, of the red Flanders poppy.

The poppies flourished in the ravaged soil, growing in the warfare’s wake. It was John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, who immortalised the imagery of the flowers in a poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’.

Following WWI the poppy soon became a symbol of the sacrifice made by members of the Armed Forces. The Royal British Legion, the UK charity behind the annual Poppy Appeal, adopted the flower as its official emblem when it formed in 1921.

Now, the charity distributes tens of millions of poppies every year throughout the Remembrance period. The Royal British Legion heralds the poppy not just as a symbol of Remembrance, but also of “hope for a peaceful future.”

Plastic-free poppies available now

This year, you can wear a new plastic-free poppy to mark Remembrance that is made entirely from paper and can be easily recycled.

The revamped poppy is part of the Royal British Legion’s commitment to sustainability and reducing its impact on the environment.

The new poppy is made from paper offcuts created during the production of coffee cups, and its introduction will cut the carbon emissions of poppy production by 40%.

Our partnership with the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland

This is the eighth year of our partnership with the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland. Since the beginning of that partnership, together with our network of independent funeral directors we’ve helped to raise more than £700,000. Throughout the Remembrance period, £25 will be donated to the charities for every eligible Golden Charter funeral plan purchased*.

This support makes a real difference to the lives of members of the Armed Forces community and helps to ensure that their service and sacrifice is remembered.

*T&Cs apply.

Golden Charter

Smart Planning for Later Life

We are one of the largest funeral plan providers in the UK* and we work with over 2,900 independent funeral directors across the UK*. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service.

Find out more about how you can plan for the future with one of the funeral directors in our network.