13 facts to get you ready for Burns Night
1. The night is all about one man, Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.
It takes place on January 25.
2. It’s about celebrating his portfolio of work.
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.
4. The farmer’s son became famous with his first collection of poems – that’s the Kilmarnock edition, published in 1786.
5. But he died young, at the age of 37.
6.There’s a Centre For Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow.
7. There’s the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
8. There’s even a 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
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.
12. Burns Night is also famous for its traditional supper including a haggis.
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.
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.