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Burns Night

Burns Night is celebrated in Scotland on or around 25 January. It is a yearly commemoration of the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on 25 January 1759. The day also celebrates Burns’s contribution to Scottish culture.

People celebrate Burns Night by hosting dinners where traditional Scottish food is shared and a selection of Burns’s poems are read aloud.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759, on a dark and windy night in the village of Alloway in Ayrshire, Scotland. Colloquially known as Rabbie, he died just 37 years later, at his home in Dumfries, likely from rheumatism, that, sadly, would have been treatable today.

Portrait by Alexander Nasmyth, 1787

Despite his short life, Burns left a huge catalog of poetry and songs that have been pored over, enjoyed, and spoken aloud for over 200 years. His timeless words have echoed throughout the generations, inspiring people from every walk of life.

Burns wrote over 700 songs and poems, mostly in the Scots dialect. His best-known works are the songs “Auld Lang Syne” and “Like a Red, Red Rose”, and the mock-heroic poem “Tam O’Shanter.”

To celebrate Burns Night this year, our resident Scot, Children’s and Teens’ Services Librarian Kirsty, has put together a booklet of her favorite Scottish recipes, a few of Burns’s poems, and some book recommendations for all ages on books about Scotland or featuring Scotland.

You can view or download a copy of it here, or pick up a printed copy in the Library until the end of January 2022.

Statue of Robert Burns, Central Park, New York City. Photo by Carolyn Dubol.

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