Prince Charles recites a poem to celebrate Burns Night
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Burns Night is marked on the calendar each year in recognition of the life and work of Robert Burns. This national holiday is largely celebrated in Scotland with everything from haggis to poetic readings used to mark the occasion. From key dates to the origins of the celebration, this is everything you need to know about Burns Night 2022.
Who was Robert Burns?
Each year, the Scottish national holiday known as Burns Night is celebrated on or around January 25 to pay tribute to the life of Robert Burns.
This year, Burns Night will be celebrated on Tuesday, January 25.
As an iconic historical figure in Scottish literature, Robert Burns is widely regarded as Scotland’s national poet.
With worldwide influence and timeless works such as Auld Lang Syne, the annual celebration of Burns Night is a nod to the poetic works of Burns throughout his 37 years of life.
The legacy of the pre-Romantic period poet still lives on at the heart of Scottish culture, with a number of statues, museums and exhibitions still standing to recognise his literary ventures.
Where was Robert Burns born?
Many aspects of Burns’s life still remain, including the cottage he was born in during the 18th century.
Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1975, in Alloway, a village near Ayr.
His parents, William Burnes and Agnes Brown raised the budding poet on Scottish farmland, surrounded by nature.
Burn’s rural upbringing drove his affinity with nature and love for the national landscape, which were later used as a muse for his poetic works.
Following the death of his father in 1784, Burns remained a tenant father of the farm for most of his life before launching his successful career as a Scots poet.
The cottage in which Burns was born remains part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.
This landmark museum is a must-see tourist attraction, hosting the world’s most iconic collection of the poet’s work.
Known as Burns Cottage, the property is owned and cared for by the National Trust for Scotland.
Each year, Burns Big Night In is held at the site with this year’s ticketed event taking place on Saturday, January 22 at 7pm.
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How is Burns Night celebrated?
Burns Night is celebrated with no less than Scotland’s finest national dishes.
The man himself is commemorated with a traditional meal filled with haggis, neeps (swede mash) and tatties (mashed potatoes).
Most celebrations of Burns’s life work are finished with recitals of his most famous lyrics.
Known as Burns suppers, these celebratory events typically include the drinking of Scotch whisky which is held to toast Burns’ life.
The first supper to commemorate Burns was held by a group of his friends in July 1801 to mark the fifth anniversary of the poet’s life.
In the same year, the first Burns Club was established in Greenock – its founders held the first official Burns Night on January 29, 1802.
Robert Burns’ most famous work
Plenty of his work is read aloud in houses across Scotland on Burns Night, but which poems and songs are regarded as Burns’ most iconic works?
Robert Burns’s most famous poems include:
- Tae a moose – a tale of morality and mankind
- Address to the Deil – humorous poem mocks the portrayal of satan
- Address to a Haggis – celebrates Scotland’s national dish
- Auld Lang Syne – traditional Scottish folk song
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