Scotland and Poets Celebrate Burns Night
January 25th marks the annual celebration of Burns Night, the holiday reserved for the “National Poet of Scotland” and one of the many fun Winter holidays travelers can experience this time of year when visiting Scotland. If you’re traveling in Scotland be sure to check out all the festivities taking place, which entertain beyond the recital of poetry and song.
The sight of Scots in kilts (a favorite of mine) and Scottish-Americans celebrating with a traditional Burns Night Supper, with bagpipers table-side, as the meal is introduced to the Ode to Haggis (which I can say, after having experienced it myself on my visit to Scotland, is quite a moment to witness), as guests enjoy haggis & whiskey and plenty more in tribute.
Here are some fun facts on Burns, you know, for the next time you are looking for an interesting conversation starting topic:
- Robert Burns produced over 550 songs and poems. That averages at around 25 works for each year of his adult life (Burns passed away at 37).
- After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.
- J.D. Salinger’s famous 1951 novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ based its title from a poem by Robert Burns ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’.
- Bob Dylan selected Burns’ 1794 song ‘A Red, Red Rose’ when asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration.
- John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ from a line contained in Burns’ poem ‘To a Mouse’: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley’.
- Auld Lang Syne, by Burns, is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.
- A miniature book of Robert Burns’ poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two-week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7 million mile trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.
Can’t be there in person? Well, then you are in luck because the Scottish government has created an awesome website with fun games and tools to learn more about Burns. Get together with the kids and have some fun exploring some Scotland history (maybe in preparation for your trip!). Here are some links to help get you started:
- Create your own Burns Poem – http://www.scotland.org/interactives/rhyme-with-rabbie-burns
- Recite the Burns Address to the Haggis – http://www.scotland.org/burns-haggis-address
- Get to know Burns and his Night, straight from the poet himself: http://www.scotland.org/video-gallery/the-story-of-robert-burns
- Burns Night Recipes – http://scotland-2012.whitespacers.com/assets/Online_Recipe_Book_FINAL_30.10.12.pdfBurns Night audio quiz: http://www.scotland.org/quizzes/burns-audio-quiz
I’ll be there in spirit, though our plans to be there in person really soon are already in the works! In the meantime, my kids and I will be emerging ourselves in poetry knowledge and all things Scotland-awesome.
For more information please visit http://www.scotland.org/us.