Red Poppy Meaning and Symbolism (Honor & Hope)

Red Poppy Meaning and Symbolism

The Red Poppy is a symbol of death, consolation, and remembrance. It is used as an honorary symbol for those who have passed away. 

Poppies, also known as the flowers of Flanders, are most commonly used to commemorate the deaths of fallen soldiers.

They were the first flowers to start growing in the 20th Century battlefields of Europe following the world wars, making them symbols of hope after the devastation. 

These flowers are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere and are native to Asia, the Arctic, and Japan. They are rarely found in the Southern Hemisphere and the United States. 

Like most flowers, the poppy also has a variety of different colors, and all these colors have their meanings; their symbolism. The red poppy is the most commonly occurring poppy if you go poppy-hunting.

Red Poppy Symbolism

1. Honoring Fallen Heroes

Red Poppy

The red poppy often symbolizes the death of someone that contributed a lot to this world just by living; the death of a kind, honorary personality.

This tradition has been going on for more than hundreds of years. Traces of red poppies around graves in Egyptian times have been found that are believed to be planted there to symbolize death and eternity. 

Aside from this, from the Roman and the Greek Empire came countless that mention red poppies as a metaphor for death. They were also used as offerings for the dead.

When faced with the loss of someone, people often use this flower to express their grief and to honor their memories of the ones that they have lost. These flowers are rarely ever given to someone living. Instead, their bouquets or even single flowers are placed upon graves.

See Also: Blue Poppy Symbolic Meanings

2. Consolation

Red Poppy

With the death of a loved one comes a lot of grief and a need for consolation. Red poppies are also used as a sign of eternal peace and consolation for those people. 

The red poppy symbolizes the eternal peace that comes after death. It is a remembrance of death as well as the eternity that follows it.

People often give this flower to the one that recently faced the loss of someone important to remind them that their loved one is now in a better place; a place surrounded by peace where no one can hurt anyone and there is no war. It is a reminder of reuniting in heaven.

3. Regeneration 

Red Poppy

The red poppy has been used as a symbol of regeneration for more than hundreds of years. It is a sign of hope in the darkest of times.

This tradition can be traced back as far as ancient times. The red poppy was first related to the Blood of Christ; it was used to remember the regeneration and the ascension of Christ to heaven.  

They were also the first flowers to regrow over the battlefields of 20th Century Europe.

These flowers can grow in unbelievably harsh conditions even where lands are barren and no water is present, offering hope for regeneration is desolate landscapes.

They are a reminder that even the harshest of times can be overcome, and your regeneration will take place as a whole new person.

4. Sleep

Red Poppy

Red poppies are used as a symbol of tranquility, peace, and sleep.

Naturally occurring sedatives, otherwise known as opiates, are present in poppy flowers in big quantities which naturally made them the symbol for eternal sleep and peace.

This also caused them to be used for medical uses in Egyptian times when the doctors gave their patients a few poppy seeds to relieve them of pain.

Giving this flower to someone can also symbolize that you are hoping to try and relieve them of some of the pain that they are feeling, and that they find peace soon.

The Red Poppy as a Symbol of Military Remembrance

Red poppies are most commonly used for the remembrance of those that died during a conflict. Every year, to honor veterans and heroes of war these flowers are grown and placed on the graves of the departed.

This symbolism was given birth in the 19th Century after the Napoleonic wars ended. The wars had caused the entire land to be destroyed; barren, dry and without any type of vegetation. To make it worse, the land was entirely covered with the bodies of the fallen heroes.

However, like a miracle, the red poppies started growing around the dead bodies; encasing them.

Later on, this flower became the official symbol for the fallen heroes after the poem “In Flanders Fields” was published by Jon McCrae:

In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row


Now, every year on Veterans Day, people honor the ones that served their country by going on their graves and placing these poppy flowers on them.

The Red Poppy as a Tattoo

The red poppy is also one of the most common tattoos used to honor departed souls.

It comes in various shapes and sizes and is commonly inked on arms or back. This tattoo is used as a tribute to those that have passed away and those that died while protecting others.

It is an ideal tattoo if you need to honor and remember someone that you had loved and lost. 

The Red Poppy’s Meaning in Dreams

If you see the Red Poppy in your dreams, it might mean that you have recently faced the loss of something, or someone important. 

The reoccurrence of red poppies in dreams might point to the fact that you feel sad and agitated at the loss of someone important. It can also mean that you are trying to honor and remember the memories you had with the one that you lost

Meanwhile, meditating on a red poppy would mean that you have repressed feelings that need to be let out. This can be done by meditating in real life which would clear your path of hard obstacles in life. 

Ingesting poppy seeds in a dream might symbolize the use of mind-altering substances, and that you are trying to escape from the toughness of life. To walk away from the poppy seeds, you have to persevere and consider how hiding from the hard things in life will affect you negatively in the long term.

Other Red Flower Symbolic Meanings:


Losing someone is not easy, but it might help to let your emotions out by always preserving the memories and making a tribute to them with the help of red poppies.    

The red poppy is an ideal flower to honor your departed loved ones. Whether in bouquets or as a single flower, they can perfectly express the words and feelings that you are struggling to let out.

Keep an eye out for red poppies on people’s lapels in early November in the lead-up to Veteran’s (USA) and Remembrance Day (Commonwealth), commemorated on November 11 each year.

Skip to content