The annual celebration of Burns Night, which started in 1801, honours the legacy of the renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns.
The enduring legacy of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, is evident in the continued celebration of his birthday each year not only in Scotland but around the world. Famous figures such as John Steinbeck, who used a line from Burns’ poem in the title of his novel ‘Of Mice and Men,’ and Michael Jackson, who reportedly drew inspiration from the poet to create his hit song ‘Thriller,’ have been inspired by Burns’ work.
Even today, Scottish songs like ‘Auld Lang Syne’ continue to bring people together as they sing it to ring in the new year. Burns’ humble beginnings in a small cottage in Alloway village have led to his work orbiting the earth 217 times, covering a distance of 5.7 million miles, as reported by Sky History, a testament to the enduring impact of his poetry.
What is Burns Night?
Burns Night is an annual celebration in Scotland that marks the birthday of the country’s national poet, Robert Burns. It is considered as an important cultural event in Scotland, alongside St Andrew’s Day. On this day, Scots pay tribute to Robert Burns and his love for Scotland, its natural beauty, and its people through various traditional practices.
The first Burns supper was held more than 200 years ago in July 1801, when nine of the poet’s closest friends gathered to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death. The meal featured traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis and Sheep’s head, followed by a recitation of Burns’ poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ and other songs. As per Visit Scotland.
Who was Robert Burns?
The legacy of Robert Burns, born in 1759 as the first child in a family of tenant farmers in Alloway, Scotland, continues to be celebrated till this day. Despite dedicating much of his life to farming, he was able to create over 700 poems before he passed away at the age of 37.
A significant portion of his works reflect his empathy towards the poor and his understanding of the social and economic inequalities prevalent during his time. He wrote extensively about love, poverty, religion and his identity as a Scot.
His works are known for their masterful use of the Scottish dialect, such as in the famous song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ which translates to ‘Old Long Since.’ However, his excessive drinking habits were also a contributing factor to his death from endocarditis.
How do Scots celebrate Burns Night?
Burns Night is typically celebrated in Scotland with a traditional Burns Supper, which includes a variety of Scottish dishes such as cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps and tatties, and a glass of whisky. Many events are held across the country, particularly in cities like Edinburgh, where people gather to enjoy ceilidhs, poetry readings, and recitations of Burns’ most famous works.
When is Burns Night 2023?
Burns Night is held annually on January 25th, commemorating the birthday of Robert Burns who was born on this date in 1759. This year, it will mark the 264th birthday of the famous Scottish poet and it will fall on a Wednesday.