So today is Burns Night, an annual day set aside to celebrate Robert Burns, a Scottish poet and lyricist who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.

A  Scottish bagpiper in the landscape of the Scottish hills

The day is a way for people to celebrate the life of the 18th century writer, which falls on Monday, January 25, Burns’ birthday.

 

The tradition came about several years following the passing of the poet in 1796, when his friends honoured his career on the date he died (July 21) every year.

 

Thanks to his friends we can all help celebrate the renowned Burns Supper, after more than two centuries it is has become a nationwide event with recitals of the poet’s works and a haggis dinner.

 

We wanted to show our appreciation for the famous scot by giving you 9 facts to enjoy and share, so here they are:

 

  1. Robert Burns originally spelled his name ‘Burnes’.

 

  1. Alicia Keys, Virginia Woolf and one half of Rizzle Kicks all share the same birthday as Robert Burns.

 

  1. Mariah Carey and Susan Boyle are just two famous artists to have covered Robert’s poem, Auld Lang Syne.

 

  1. Scotland’s National Bard boasts being the source of inspiration to many music legends, most notably Bob Dylan, who cited him as his greatest creative muse.

 

  1. It is commonly thought that Michael Jackson’s hit record ‘Thriller’ was inspired by Burns’ poem ‘Tam o’Shanter’.

 

  1. Burns’ poems have travelled a staggering 5.7 million miles as well as making a total 217 orbits of the Earth, thanks largely to British born astronaut, Nick Patrick, who took a book of Robert Burns’ poetry on a space mission in 2010.

 

  1. STV viewers successfully voted Robert Burns the title of ‘The Great Scot’, beating off stiff competition in the running, including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and David Tennant.

 

  1. If you’re keen to try a traditional Burns Supper, either tonight or when you’re enjoying a yurt glamping break, you need to start with soup, often a Scottish broth, before tucking into the haggis. The haggis is served with turnips and potatoes – known as neeps and tatties to the true Scots.

 

  1. The meal is followed by the Immortal Memory toast, in which a guest, if you have one, gives a speech in honour of the great poet.

 

Image: Diliff under Creative Commons.

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