Swastikas and Poppies

The swastika is an ancient symbol which in the west now symbolises the Nazi atrocities of the Second World war. To the Jewish People it symbolises fear, oppression and extermination.

The word swastika comes from Sanskrit meaning well-being. It has been in use for thousands of years, particularly by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists as an auspicious sign which is part of everyday life. For some it is a symbol of love. In India it is often found painted over doorways or on motor vehicles.

The poppy has been used since the 1920s in Canada, Britain, Australia and some other countries as a symbol of remembrance for the soldiers who died in the war. The poppy was chosen because it was found to grow well on former battlefields, the destruction of battle caused calcium to leach into the soils and made them attractive for poppies. Also the poppy is red a reminder of the blood shed by those soldiers for our freedom.

Remembrance Day is on 11 November, known by many as Poppy Day in Britain. Unfortunately the poppy has been used (hijacked) by far right groups in the UK like Britain First (an offshoot of the BNP) to promote their agenda of Islamophobia and racial hatred.

poppy and swastika

poppy and swastika

For some in Ireland the poppy is seem as a symbol of British Militarism and is for them more offensive than the swastika. It is rare to see Poppy wearers in Dublin around Remembrance Day.

1909 notecard

1909 notecard with poppies and swastikas in the corners for good luck

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