As we approach Poppy Day and all the kerfuffle that inevitably accompanies it, just what are the rules about the wearing of Poppies?
To avoid any confusion, here’s your easy, at-a-glance, cut-out-and-keep guide.
Q When should you start wearing your Poppy?
A You’d think a reasonable answer would be ‘when they go on sale.’ But some people seem to get hold of theirs before that, so maybe there are places that sell them all year round. You can buy fireworks in February, so why not Poppies in May? Although actually wearing it in May might look a bit odd. Basically, there are no rules. Go with your instinct.
Q You HAVE to wear one though, don’t you?
A No. It’s entirely up to you. You can respect Britain’s war dead without signaling it to everyone. And you can plonk money in the tin without choosing to fiddle with the pin and Poppy part. Again, there are no rules.
Q Why the capital P for Poppy?
A You’re right. It doesn’t need one.
Q Should you wear your poppy on the left or the right?
A Either side is acceptable. Anywhere, really. I have mine on my backpack. That’s because I wear my backpack every day, whereas I might switch from my jacket on one day to a raincoat the next and forget to transfer the poppy. Of course, there’s no rule to say you can’t buy more than one poppy, and definitely none about where you should wear it.
Q The leaf on the poppy should point to 11 o’clock, right?
A No. It can point up, down, left or right. It doesn’t matter and there’s no rule.
Q The poppy is an example of wasteful, single-use plastic, isn’t it?
A Yes, but don’t expect the Daily Mail to point this out in their anti-plastic campaign.
Q Does an extra-large poppy signify a personal connection with Britain’s armed forces?
A No. It means you’re wearing the one that was supposed to go on your car.
Q Will wearing an expensive poppy made from shiny enamel show that you care more deeply about our glorious dead?
A Possibly. However, the other interpretation is that you bought one many years ago and dig it out every October without feeling the need to donate another penny.
Q Can I wear a poppy shirt, poppy scarf and poppy hoodie; sport a stripey poppy backpack and swing a giant poppy umbrella?
A Certainly. You won’t look at all deranged.