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Robbie Burns

Periodically, in the interests of diversity and education, I post some information about special days celebrated around the world. They can be cultural of religious celebrations, some are well known and others perhaps not quite so well known. I will never capture all of the important dates, but there are some that really should not be missed. As a person who enjoys a drop of single malt scotch occasionally, and who played soccer with a bunch of Scotsmen for 25 years here in Canada how could I not mention Robbie Burns Day?

I'm a little late because I have been away on vacation ... but here goes.

Robbie Burns Day ... January 25th

Robert Burns was a poet and lyrist born in Scotland on January 25, 1759. He was regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is known as the pioneer of the Romantic Movement and after his death became a source of inspiration to the founders of liberalism and socialism. He became a cultural icon in Scotland and has been a strong influence on Scottish literature.

Burns Night/Day is known as the second national holiday in Scotland and is celebrated on January 25th. It is celebrated with Burns suppers and is more widely observed than the official national day. The format of the Burns suppers has not changed since his death in 1796. The dinner starts with a general welcome and announcements followed with the Selkirk Grace. After the grace comes the piping and cutting of haggis, where Robert's famous Ode to a Haggis is read and the haggis is cut open. People begin to eat and just after the haggis is presented comes the reading called the "immortal memory", an overview of Burns' life and work, is given; the event usually concludes with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

Note ...

1. The thought of haggis is unappealing to many people, however it is really an inoffensive taste. In fact a "wee drop" of single malt scotch poured on the haggis will make it even better!
2. As an Englishman I am bound to crack (a modified version of) my old joke ... that there were three great things that came from Scotland; (1) Single malt scotch (2) Robbie Burns and (3) the road to England!

Apologies in advance to all my old teammates ... you've heard it many times!