Wreaths

 

LAYING OF WREATHS

Flowers have traditionally been laid on graves and memorials in memory of the dead.

The symbolism of wreaths has been used at funerals since at least the time of Ancient Greece, to represent a circle of eternal life.  Evergreen wreaths were laid at the burial place of early martyrs in Europe, representing the victory of the eternal spirit over death.

Rosemary, symbolising remembrance, is popular on ANZAC Day.  Since ancient times, this aromatic herb has-been believed to have properties to improve the memory.  Perhaps because of this, rosemary became an emblem of both fidelity and remembrance in literature and folklore.  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 significance for Australians, as it is-found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.

Laurel is also a commemorative symbol; woven into a wreath, it was used by the ancient Romans to crown victors and the brave as a mark of honour.

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The poppy soon became widely accepted throughout the allied nations as the flower of remembrance to be worn on Remembrance Day.

Today the RSL continues to sell poppies for Remembrance Day to raise funds for its welfare work.  The poppy has also become popular in wreaths.

Wreaths are commonly laid at memorial cenotaphs, or even at sea, during Memorial and Remembrance Day ceremonies. 

A wreath laying ceremony is a traditional practice during which wreaths are laid at a grave or memorial site.  It is done as a formal sign of respect and once a wreath is laid, the person who lays it goes a few steps back to bow/salute the memorial.