What is Burns Night and Why Do We Celebrate It?

What is Burns Night and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Bagpipes at the ready, because this Friday saw the annual celebration of Burns Night, a holiday honouring Scottish poet Robert Burns.

While Burns Night is very, very much a Scottish thing, you might have noticed the celebrations seeping over the borders. All over England pubs, bars and restaurants have launched limited edition Burns Night menus, meaning that you don't need to be Scottish, or even in Scotland, to celebrate Scottish culture over Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. For you Burns Night newbies, we thought we'd explain a little for you… 

What is it? 

Burns Night is traditionally celebrated with a haggis supper, but over the years has become more of a varied celebration. Think whisky, Bagpipes and all you can eat Scottish cuisine, with the odd song thrown in. 

Why do we Celebrate? 

Burns Night is all about honouring Robert Burns, and his contribution to Scottish culture. Burns was the man behind many Scottish poems and songs, and was most famously known for his song, "auld lang syne". 

After his death in 1796, a small group of his friends would gather together, always on the anniversary of his death, to celebrate in his name. Over the years this tradition grew and grew, and was then moved to the anniversary of his birthday (25th January), and is now a huge event, celebrated by millions each year. 

How can I get involved? 

It's easy! No matter where in the world you are, pour yourself a glass of whisky, gather your closest friends and have a good night, all in the name of Robert Burns. 

For those who celebrate, and our Scottish readers, we hope you had a wonderful Burns Night, and we wish you a lovely weekend. 

By Ellen Barr