Remembrance Day is marked annually on 11 November to commemorate the end of the First World War on 11 November, 1918. The day, also known as Poppy Day, is also observed to remember all those who sacrificed their lives in the war, and other conflicts that followed it.
Millions died in the four-year-long conflict, including over 74,000 Indian soldiers.
How is the day observed?
The day is observed with two minutes of silence on 11 am on 11 November as it marks the anniversary of the end of the First World War, when the armistice was signed between the Allied forces and Germany.
The day was first observed in the year 1919 and was known as Armistice Day. However, the name was changed after the end of the Second World War.
Significance of poppy:
Before the advent of Remembrance Day, poppies are widely sold in the Commonwealth countries. The flower holds a special significance, and is worn to show respect for all people who died fighting in the First World War as well as the conflicts that followed it.
The flowers, which grew in many of the battlefields of the war, inspired a poem, In Flanders Fields, by Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. The red poppies were then adopted by American academic Moina Michael to remember the loss of life in the First World War.
The flower is also associated with a charity founded by veterans of the First World War known as the Royal British Legion.
While red poppies, which signify the people who lost their lives in the war, is worn the most, other colours of the flower are also popular among people.
Purple poppies are worn to remember the animals who have been the victims of war. Black poppies are worn to symbolise the contribution of the black, African and Caribbean communities to the First World War while white poppies are used to commemorate the lives lost in the war as well as the hope of achieving peace.
In 2018, the saffron marigold flower joined the poppy to signify India's contribution to the First World War.
India's contribution to the First World War:
The First World War saw an estimated 1.3 million Indian soldiers serving in the war, often in far-flung battlefields such as France and Belgium.
While over a million Indian troops were sent to the battlefields of the First World War, their contribution has largely been ignored. The soldiers were sent to battlefields in the European, Middle Eastern, East and North African and Mediterranean battlefields. The Indian people were also taxed considerably to maintain the war effort in Britain.