Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Scottish Poet Robert Burns

Salute the HAGGIS!

January 25th marks the celebration of a birth that occurred over 250 years ago. This person came into the world before America was its own country; before the regency and Victorian eras swept England; before my ancestors had any inkling how the world would turn out.
The dry facts go like this: Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayreshire, in Scotland, in a farmer’s cottage. Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was his first published work. Burns’ poem To a Haggis, is recited across the world during the annual Burns Night celebrations every January. His tongue-in-cheek exaggeration of his love for this oatmeal, onions, heart and liver concoction boiled inside a sheep’s stomach has elevated the simple sausage to a national icon.

Still wondering what all the hoopla about a guy long dead is all about? Do the English host a party on Shakespeare’s birthday? Do the Americans honor Longfellow? Not to this extent. The world has celebrated this poet’s life since a few years after his death when a group of Burns’ friends got together to read his poems and drink a little Scotch Whisky.

Some idolize the man for his poetry and songs. He is remembered in Scotland, where a beautiful museum was dedicated to Robert Burns. 

January is here, again. Since moving from New Hampshire, I have missed attending the annual Robert Burns Night held by the St. Andrews Society of New Hampshire. I miss those gatherings, where over 100 people attend dressed in Scottish attire to enjoy music, Highland dancers, fine whisky, great food, and a story about Robert Burns. The evening always ends with everyone joining hands to sing one of Robert Burns’ songs, a very familiar song…Auld Lang Syne.

Happy Birthday, Robert.


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