13 facts to get you ready for Burns Night

1. The night is all about one man, Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.

Statue of Robert Burns
(Danny Lawson/PA)

It takes place on January 25.

2. It’s about celebrating his portfolio of work.

 The Glenriddell manuscripts are the single largest collection in the world of Robert Burns handwritten poems and letters
(Andrew Milligan/PA)

He was a prolific writer, penning more than 500 poems. The Glenriddell manuscripts, shown here, are the single largest collection in the world of Robert Burns handwritten poems and letters.

3. He was born in 1759 in Ayrshire, Scotland.

The birth certificate of Scottish poet Robert Burns (David Cheskin/PA)
The birth certificate of Scottish poet Robert Burns (David Cheskin/PA)

4. The farmer’s son became famous with his first collection of poems – that’s the Kilmarnock edition, published in 1786.

Wording from Robert Burns on stamps
His work was included on stamps in 1996 (PNR/PA)

5. But he died young, at the age of 37.

A Robert Burns painting made from 100% Scottish recycled materials
A Robert Burns painting made from 100% Scottish recycled materials. Hey, why not? (Andrew Milligan/PA)

6.There’s a Centre For Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow.

7. There’s the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Burns Cottage in Alloway, South Ayrshire
Burns Cottage in Alloway, South Ayrshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

8. There’s even a Robert Burns app.

(Screenshot/The Works of Robert Burns app)
(Screenshot/The Works of Robert Burns app)

Seriously. It’s available on iTunes thanks to The Scottish Government, and it’s just been updated. As well as a timeline of his life, it includes more than 500 of his poems. Get it here.

9. Monumental man

Statue of Robert Burns
This one is in Glasgow, in case you were wondering (Danny Lawson/PA)

There’s a lot of Robert Burns statues. In fact, with the exception of Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Burns has more statues dedicated to him than any other non-religious figure.

10. Burns Night was started by a few of his mates.

Some of his close friends started the tradition by getting together a few years after his death, and then, it just grew from there.

11. On Burns Night, Burns’ life is celebrated – and his works too, with readings of his poems.

Alex Salmond with a bust of Robbie Burns
Here’s former First Minister Alex Salmond with a bust of Robert Burns (Andrew Milligan/PA)

12. Burns Night is also famous for its traditional supper including a haggis.

Text To A Haggis
(Screenshot/The Works of Robert Burns app)

As a poet, Burns wrote To A Haggis. Expect a budding actor to give a dramatic reading, knife in hand.

13. Burns Night is an excuse to sing Auld Lang Syne again.

an original manuscript of Robert Burns Auld Lang Syne.
An original manuscript of Robert Burns Auld Lang Syne (David Cheskin/PA)

Robert Burns wrote the famous song. Although we tend to sing it on New Year’s Eve, it’s really about parting, so it’s just as valid to sing it at the end of the night.

Web editor