Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Burns Night

Today is a big day for the Scots (and those of us who wish we were)! All over the world, people of Scottish descent will be coming together to celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns. Born on January 25, 1759, Burns would go on to right many poems that reflected Scottish heritage, traditions, and life. Today, his poems are still loved and recited by many and in 2009 he was voted the "Greatest Scot" by the people of Scotland.

The tradition of the Burns Supper began in the early 19th century, and occurs every year on or around January 25th. They are essentially gatherings (formal and informal) of Burns lovers who spend the evening eating haggis, drinking whiskey, and reciting Burns poetry. Though different people prefer one Burns poem to another, there are some that are his most popular. This year, over 1000 Scots voted his narrative poem "Tam o' Shanter" as their all-time favorite. Here is the opening portion of the poem:

When chapmen billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
And getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky sullen dame.
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

Read the whole poem here.

Whether or not your family hails from the Highlands, this is a great time to revel in the tradtion and pageantry of being Scottish. So take a few moments to raise a wee dram to good ol' Rabbie Burns, whose poems continue to bring pride and pleasure to Scots and non-Scots alike over 200 years later.

No comments: