Robert Burns Day in Scotland Date in the current year: January 25, 2019

Robert Burns Day in Scotland Burns Night, also known as Robert Burns Day, is celebrated in Scotland and by Scots people around the world on January 25. The celebration commemorates the birthday of Robert Burns, a renowned Scottish poet and lyricist who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.

Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759. His names and epithets include Rabbie Burns, Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire, and many others. Burns is widely recognized as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and the best-known poet among those who have written in the Scots language, although he wrote in Standard English and Scots dialect of English as well.

Burns’s poem and song “Auld Lang Syne” is a very popular New Year’s song in the English-speaking world. His other poems and songs that are widely known across the world in numerous translations include “A Red, Red Rose”, “To a Mouse”, “To a Louse”, “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”, “My Heart’s in the Highlands”, and many others.

Every year, people around the world celebrate the legacy of Robert Burns at the so-called Burns suppers. The first Burns supper was held by Burns’s friend on July 21, 1801 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the poet’s death. Since 1803, Burns suppers have been held on his birthday rather than death anniversary.

Robert Burns’s birthday is commonly referred to as Robert Burns Day or Burns Night. Naturally, Burns suppers are most common in Scotland, where Burns Night is more widely observed than Saint Andrew’s Day, the official national day of Scotland. Outside Scotland, Burns suppers are celebrated by expatriate Scots and people who love his poetry from all over the world.

The format of Burns suppers hasn’t changed much since their inception. Depending on the venue and the host, these gatherings can be more or less formal but the order is pretty standard. Guests are usually greeted by a piper, who plays traditional Scottish music. Once everyone is present, the host delivers a welcoming speech and declares the evening open.

Before the meal, it is customary to say the Selkirk Grace, a well-known thanksgiving in the Scots language (which shouldn’t be confused with Scottish Gaelic). After that, the first course is served. Burns supper usually starts with some kind of Scottish soup, such as cock-a-leekie, cullen skink, potato soup, or Scotch broth.

The main course is always a haggis, a type of Scottish savory pudding consisting of sheep stomach stuffed with minced sheep offal mixed with other ingredients. The haggis is brought in by the cook, accompanied by the piper leading the way to the table. When the haggis is laid down, the host or one of the guests recites Burns’s “Address to a Haggis” and cuts the haggis open.

The haggis is usually served with mashed neeps and mashed potatoes. Other courses may include cheese, desserts, coffee, and, of course, Scotch whisky. During the meal, guests give various speeches and toasts in honor of Robert Burns and his legacy, recite poems and sing songs. As the feast nears its end, everyone stands up, joins hands, and sings “Auld Lang Syne”.

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