Burns Night

imageBurns Night is traditionally held annually on 25 January in order to celebrate the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who was born 25 January 1759. He is also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the PloughmanPoet, Robden of Solway, the Bard of Ayrshire and the Bard. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is.celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest. He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature.As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) “Auld Lang Syne” is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and “Scots Wha Hae” served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include “A Red, Red Rose”; “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”; “To a Louse”; “To a Mouse”; “The Battle of Sherramuir”; “Tam o’ Shanter”; and “Ae Fond Kiss”.

Burns Night usually features a formal supper which is normally held annually on or near the poet’s birthday, the day is also sometimes known as Robert Burns Day (or Robbie Burns Day) although they may in principle be held at any time of the year.Burns suppers are most common in Scotland and Northern Ireland however there has been a surge in Burns’ Night celebrations in the UK events industry seeing the evening being celebrated outside their traditional confines of Burns Clubs, Scottish Societies, expatriate Scots, or aficionados of Burns’ poetry. There is a particularly strong tradition of them in southern New Zealand’s main city Dunedin, of which Burns’ nephew Thomas Burns was a founding father.

The first suppers were held in memoriam at Ayrshire at the end of the 18th century by Robert Burns’ friends on 21 July, the anniversary of his death, and have been a regular occurrence ever since. The first Burns club was founded in Greenock in 1801 by merchants born inAyrshire, some of whom had known Burns. They held the first Burns supper on what they thought was his birthday, 29 January 1802, but in 1803 they discovered in Ayr parish records that his date of birth was 25 January 1759. since then, suppers have been held on 25 January. Burns suppers may be formal or informal. Both typically include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in Address to a Haggis), Scotch whisky, and the recitation of Burns’s poetry. Formal dinners are hosted by organisations such as Burns clubs, the Freemasons, or St Andrews Societies and follow a standard format and occasionally end with dancing when ladies are present, while The informal Suppers usually end up with everybody dancing when Whiskey is Present.

 

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