Tonight, (25 January), people around the world will celebrate Burns Night, a holiday held in honour of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns.
Each year, on Burns’ birthday, 25 January, people celebrate the life and work of Burns, who lived from 1759 to 1796, dying at the young age of 37. Burns is generally regarded at the national poet of Scotland, perhaps best known worldwide for the lyrics to the traditional New Year’s – or Hogmanay in Scotland – tune Auld Lang Syne.
Burns Night – or Robbie Burns Day, as it is occasionally called – is generally celebrated in Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, there are celebrations around the world, such as Moscow and Tokyo, but are particularly common in areas where many residents have a Scottish background, such as Dunedin, New Zealand. Dunedin, often called the Edinburgh of the South, had many Scottish settlers, one of whom was a nephew of Burns and a statue of the poet stands in the centre of the city.
The holiday is celebrated with Scottish traditions such as haggis, whisky and bagpipes, and also with the reading of the poetry of Burns. Travellers interested in Burns and his cultural impact on Scotland can visit Burns Cottage, found in Alloway, South Ayrshire, which is part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
The Guinness World Records noted that the largest Burns supper was held last year in Glasgow and was attended by 645 guests – and sponsored by Glenrothes Single Malt Whisky. The event also raised £100,000 for charity.