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by World Music Network January 25, 2012


25th January: Celebrate Burn's Night

BurnsThe Burns Night supper is a significant celebration of Scottish identity: a night to celebrate the life and works of the national Bard. Robert Burns (1759-1796), Scotland's renowned poet was born on 25 January and is celebrated for his many poetic works such as Ae Fond Kiss and Address to a Haggis.A pioneer of the Romantic movement, he became a significant cultural icon in Scotland as well as throughout the Scottish diaspora. The celebration of his life and works, known as Burns Night, have been described as a 'national charismatic cult', particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries. Now Burns Night has been appropriated by the business world, as an excuse to wear a kilt, eat haggis and drink whisky. Well, why not? The first Burns Night suppers were intimate affairs held in the late 18th-century in Alloway, Ayrshire, Robert Burns' home country. However, in today's society Burns Night came to be held on the bard's birthday, 25 January.

The traditional dinner for Burn's night consists of cock-a-leekie soup followed by the main plate of haggis, neeps (swedes) and tatties (potatoes). The meal is undoubdtedly washed down with a good dram of whisky, and followed by a foot stompin' ceilidh. Of course, Scotland is not the only country to be celebrating Burns Night today - so there is no reason to get out the house tonight and experience some of the Scottish celebrations. If you are feeling brave, you could even try your hand at making your own haggis...

Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland. He would adapt the songs to house his own verses, highlighting how music was the perfect medium for the expression of his thoughts. Auld Lang Syne is sung religiously at Hogmanay and at the end of ceilidhs. Some of his most famous works include A Red, Red Roseand A Man's A Man for A' That. 

Here is a more recent example of how Burns still influences modern day artists.