NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- January 25 is Burns Night, which celebrates Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns. On Burns' birthday, Scots and those who love all things-Scottish, celebrate Burns' life and works by raising a glass, joining in song and reciting his favorite poems at Burns suppers and readings.
Scots and Scottish-Americans celebrate the date with traditional table-side bagpiping, 'Address to the Haggis' (which opens the meal), tasty haggis and whisky, renditions of "Auld Lang Syne" (which was penned by the poet) and much more to pay tribute to the legendary bard. 2015 is Scotland's year of food and drink, so it's an ideal time to embrace the tradition of Burns night.
This year, it's even easier to celebrate Burns with a new app from the Scottish Government. The Robert Burns app provides tips for how to create the perfect Burns Night Supper – including recipes for starters, mains and desserts -- from noted Scottish chefs; whisky pairings; the traditional address to a haggis; a complete listing of his works; Robert Burns trivia; a "Kilt Up" tool; how to create the perfect stanza Burns-style; and more. The app can be downloaded for free at www.scotland.org/burns
Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs said, "Burns Night is the perfect opportunity for Scots and Scots at heart to celebrate the life and works of one of the world's most influential poets. Burns encapsulates Scotland's creativity, pride and confidence and that's why we come together to honor this great Scot with friends, family and loved ones on January 25. Whether you joining a Burns Supper, having your own Burns Night celebrations, or just visiting the Burns online portal to learn more about Scotland's national bard and why his message of liberty, self-expression and fairness for all continue to resonate today, we are encouraging everyone who feels an affinity to Scotland to honor the life of an extraordinary man this weekend."
A traditional Burns Night Supper features haggis, a pudding that traditionally contains sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs) mixed with spices and marinated in an animal's stomach casing. Burns felt that the haggis dish represented his countrymen's ability to overcome adversity and thus, is a hallmark of the celebration. Side dishes include "neeps" (mashed turnips) and "tatties" (mashed potatoes). For Americans looking for an alternative to haggis, the Burns app offers traditional and modern Scottish foods to prepare for Burns night. While dining, Burns enthusiasts recite the bard's works. The first suppers were held in Scotland at the end of the eighteenth century by Robert Burns' friends and 2015 will mark the 256th anniversary of his birthday.
The poet, who can claim Michael Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Bob Dylan as fans, penned some of Scotland's most descriptive and evocative prose. He is accepted around the world for his inspirational and moving writing style in works such as "Tam-o-Shanter," "To A Mouse," "A Man's A Man for a' That," and "A Red, Red Rose."
To celebrate his birthday, here are few fun facts about Robert Burns:
- After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.
- J.D. Salinger's famous 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye based its title from a poem by Robert Burns "Comin' Thro' the Rye."
- Bob Dylan selected Burns' 1794 song "A Red, Red Rose" when asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration.
- John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel Of Mice and Men from a line contained in Burns' poem "To a Mouse:" "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley."
- Burns' Auld Lang Syne is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are 'Happy Birthday' and 'For he's a jolly good fellow.'
- A miniature book of Robert Burns' poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two-week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7-million mile trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.
- Robert Burns produced over 550 songs and poems. That averages at around 25 works for each year of his adult life (Burns passed away at 37).
For more information about Robert Burns, his complete list of works, special Burns Night Supper recipes and more, visit www.scotland.org/burns and follow @AboutScotland for real-time updates on Burns Night events around the world.
SOURCE Scottish Government