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Remembrance Day Poppy Removal Etiquette

Updated March 06, 2019

To some people, a strict code of etiquette applies to the wearing of poppies on and leading up to Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day, or Veteran's Day, is held on November 11 in the UK and commemorates those who gave their lives in World War I, which ended on that day. Finding out the correct etiquette for the wearing of the poppy pin can help you avoid offending anyone during the process of paying your respects to the dead.

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When to Wear: Traditional

A couple of different schools of thought exist on when to wear your poppy to commemorate Remembrance Day. Generally poppies should be worn from November 1 until Remembrance Day (traditionally referred to as Armistice Day) on November 11. Television presenters often begin wearing their poppy earlier than this, but this often is determined by the network as a whole. The Royal British Legion says that poppies can be worn from October 22 onward. Remove poppies on November 12, which makes the official Remembrance Day the last day you wear it.

When to Wear -- Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is celebrated on the second Sunday in November in Britain. As a result of this, some people prefer to wear their poppy in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday and remove it on the following Monday. However, many people continue to wear their poppies until after this date (until Armistice Day), so you will not appear to break any rules of etiquette if you wear yours until November 11.

Which Side

Wear your poppy on the left hand side of your suit or shirt. This means that the poppy is on the same side as your heart. You don't necessarily need to adhere to this rule, although a Canadian National Post columnist was subject to complaint when she wore her poppy on the right hand side. Both the Royal Canadian Legion and the Royal British Legion have stated that the side on which you wear the poppy does not matter, merely that you wear it respect. Although it officially doesn't matter which side you wear it on, wear it on the left to avoid offending traditionalists.

"Poppy Fascism"

A television presenter in Britain, Jon Snow, condemned "Poppy Fascism" after being chastised by an online poster for not wearing his poppy during a television broadcast. Snow defended his position by stating that the soldiers in World War I died to protect people's freedom, including the freedom to not wear one. Take on board this point if you are concerned about offending anybody by not adhering to poppy wearing and removal etiquette. You can pay your respects to the people who died in any way you choose; the essence of Remembrance Day is about just that, not about when to wear a poppy.

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About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.

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