Rosemary & Poppies

What is the significance of Rosemary & Red Poppies on ANZAC day?

Traditionally, sprigs of rosemary are worn on Anzac Day and sometimes on Remembrance Day, and are usually handed out by Legacy and the RSL. Rosemary has particular significance for Australians, as it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.

The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day, the ritual that marks the Armistice of 11 November 1918, and is also increasingly being used as part of Anzac Day observances. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground…

These simple plants … these symbols … help us remember our history. Both plants grow where the battles were fought – they are anchors to historical realities. When we wear them, the colour of the poppy and the smell of rosemary are invocative of our history – and the price of peace.

Christians also have symbols. We have a cross that reminds us of Jesus’ rejected authority and the historical event of our forgiveness.  We have the Lord’s Supper; the broken bread reminds us of his broken body; the poured out wine reminds us of his poured out blood – the price of peace.  When we take them as a community, we are reminded that Jesus died to make a community.

ANZAC commemorations are carried out once a year. Every week at CCM we look back in commemoration, forward in anticipation and outward in proclamation because we know that we are still fighting in a battle for the souls of the lost.

Denis Oliver