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|Few plants have significant cultural influences on the societies in different parts of the world such as olive, wheat, daphne....Red poppy is one of them. Beside a lot of legends and myhtological stories about it, for example there 36 synonyms in turkish and 6 synonyms in english. We usually call it as " gelincik".
Gelin = bride, and cik = emphasize the meaning of small and lovely. Old turkish people regarded red poppy as a young and lovely bride. One more thing to mention: In old turkish tradition, brides dress in red but
not in white.
"...Its legend reaches back thousand of years. They have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back 3000 years. There is a drawing of a poppy that was found in the Codex Vindobonensis which was put together for the Byzantine princess Anicia Juliana. The Codex is dated at over a thousand years. Homer mentions poppies in the Iliad, comparing the head of a dying warrior to that of a hanging poppy flower. Many of the ancient greek and roman gods are associated with the poppy. The god Morpheus made crowns out of the poppy flowers and gave them those he wanted to put to sleep. Poppy flowers were used decorate his temple." *
Botanical name for red poppy "... papaver rhoeas contains a substance, cleverly named rhoeadine. It's nonpoisonous and has been used as mild sedative for centruies. The ancient romans used a concoction of the poppy to ease the pains of love, I guess if you are sleeping you can't worry about love.
|The greeks have a legend that explains how the poppy came to be called the Corn Poppy. The poppy was created by the god of sleep, Somnus. You see Ceres, the goddess of grain, was having a hard time falling asleep. She was exhausted from searching for her lost daughter; still she couldn't fall asleep and had no energy to help the corn grow. Somnus cooked up a concoction and got her to take it, soon she was sleeping like a baby. Rested and relaxed Ceres could then turn her attention to the corn which began to grow. Ever since that time the people believed that poppies growing around cornfields ensure a bountiful harvest. And so was born the Corn Rose, or as we call it today the Corn Poppy.
Those are some of the ancient legends associated with the poppy. Now you are asking if I am ever going to explain the war connection. This too is an ancient connection going back to Ghengis Khan. It is said that after his annihilation of the enemy the fields were churned up and drenched in blood. Soon they were covered in pure white blooms of the poppy. During the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century the same phenomenon occured. Churned up blood-drenched fields erupted in poppy flowers."
|"...The most recent and enduring tradition began in WW1 when John McCrae wrote the poem":
In Flanders Fields.
|"...McCrae was a Canadian who enlisted to help the allies in the war. He was made Medical Officer upon landing in Europe. During a lull in the battle with the nub of a pencil he scratched on a page from his dispatch book. The poem found its way into the pages of Punch magazine. By 1918 the poem was well known throughout the allied world.
Moina Michael, an american woman, wrote these lines in reply."
|Vonnoh, In Flanders Fields|
|"...She then adopted the custom of wearing a red poppy in memory of the sacrifices of war and also as a symbol of keeping the faith.
A french woman, Madam Guerin, visiting the United States, learned of the custom and took it one step further. When she returned to France she decided to hand make the red poppies and sell them to raise money for the benefit of the orphaned and destitute women and children in war torn areas of France.
This tradition spread to Canada, The United States and Australia and is still followed today. The money collected from the sale of poppies goes to fund various veteran programs..."
| In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row and row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915
| We Shall Keep the Faith
Oh ! You who sleep in Flanders' fields
Sleep sweet-to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We, cherish, too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor red
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
But lends a lustre to the red
On the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders' Fields
And now the torch and Poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught:
We've learned the lesson that ye thaught
In Flanders' Fields.
|Similarly to Flanders front in WW1, during Gallipoli battles in 1915 too, there were so much losts from both sides ie.Anzac's and Turks.
After the lost of thousands, the fields turned to red poppy fields.
And now, the grandchildren of Anzac's and Turks are visiting each year in 25th of April the war fields in Gallipoli.
They observe that "Red Poppies" are still there !
|Special thanks to Mrs.Rita Jacinto . The quoted paragraphs are from her article
"The Memorial Day Poppy"
|Our island "Bozcaada - Tenedos" is very close to Dardanelles and therefore played a significant strategical role during Gallipoli Wars in 1915.The distance between Bozcaada and Anzac Cove is only 26 miles.|
|That's why Bozcaada Tenedos played this important role in WW1. Similarly Tenedos played an important role during Troian Wars in ancient times.And Homeros pointed the similarity between the red poppies and dying warriors.|