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    Posted July 19, 2012 by
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    Travel photo of the day

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    Poppy Fields. Bulgaria. 2012 © Nora de Angelli/ www.noraphotos.com


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Nora15 of London photographed this spellbinding field of poppies during her travels through Bulgaria in mid-June. "I was amazed by the beautiful red colors. I stopped the car almost in the middle of the highway and I took pictures until the sunset," she says. "I considered myself quite lucky to witness such a ‘paradise on earth.'" Her last image was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day for February 27, 2013.
    - stein0726, CNN iReport producer

    On my way to Balcic (Bulgaria), I came across these amazing fields of poppies, Papaver rhoeas.

    It is a fascinating flower bearing a long history, myths and legends:

    Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: sleep because of the opium extracted from them, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular.

    In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead.

    Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. This symbolism was evoked in the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.

    A second interpretation of poppies in Classical mythology is that the bright scarlet colour signifies a promise of resurrection after death.

    The poppy of wartime remembrance is Papaver rhoeas, the red-flowered corn poppy. This poppy is a common weed in Europe and is found in many locations, including Flanders, the setting of the famous poem "In Flanders Fields," by the Canadian surgeon and soldier John McCrae.

    In Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, artificial poppies (plastic in Canada, paper in the UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) are worn to commemorate those who died in war.
    This form of commemoration is associated with Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11.
    In Canada, Australia and the UK, poppies are often worn from the beginning of November through to the 11th, or Remembrance Sunday if that falls on a later date (November 13 in 2011).

    In New Zealand and Australia, soldiers are commemorated on ANZAC day (April 25), although the poppy is still commonly worn around Remembrance Day. Wearing of poppies has been a custom since 1924 in the United States. Miss Moina Michael of Georgia is credited as the founder of the Memorial Poppy in the United States.

    Medical uses

    Ancient Egyptian doctors would have their patients eat seeds from a poppy to relieve pain. Poppy seeds contain both morphine and codeine, which are pain-relieving drugs that are still used today.

    The California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is the state flower of California.

    In Mexico, Grupo Modelo, the makers of Corona beer, used red poppy flowers in most of its advertising images until the 1960s.

    A poppy flower is depicted on the reverse of the Macedonian 500 denars banknote, issued in 1996 and 2003. The poppy is also part of the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia.

    The powerful symbolism of Papaver rhoeas has been borrowed by various advocacy campaigns, such as the White Poppy and Simon Topping's black poppy.
    The girl's given name Poppy is taken from the flower.
    Poppies (Amapolas in Spanish) are commonly featured as the central flower in Puerto Rican weddings.

    Artificial poppies (called "Buddy Poppies") are used in the veterans' aid campaign by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which provides money to the veterans who assemble the poppies and various aid programs to veterans and their families.

    Canada issued special quarters (25-cent coins) with a red poppy on the reverse in 2004, 2008 and 2010. The 2004 Canadian "poppy" quarter was the world's first coloured circulation coin.

    Sources: Personal notes & Wikipedia
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