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Burns Night

By Peter Baird

Robert Burns – 1759 - 1796

“But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, it's bloom is shed” - Robert Burns, Tam O'Shante

25th January sees the annual celebration of Robert Burns’ birth, when tens of thousands of lovers of his romantic

poetry and songs around the world, gather to rejoice in his memory. To honour “The Bard”, albeit a few days early, we feature 10 fun facts about him and his works – with thanks to The Official Gateway to Scotland |

· After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure. The first was commissioned in 1830 and eventually found its way to Australia, where it still sits in the small dairy town of Camperdown in western Victoria.

· Music legend Bob Dylan credits Burns’ “Red, Red Rose” as his greatest ever inspiration

· 'Auld Lang Syne' is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the top three most popular songs in the entire English language.....the other two being “Happy Birthday” and “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow!”

· …. And in China, the translated version of “Auld Lang Syne” is played at graduations and other formal gatherings

· In 2009 Burns became the first ever person to be featured on a commemorative bottle of Coca-Cola – commissioned to celebrate 250 years since his birth

· Burns fathered at least 12 children in his short lifetime, 9 of them to his wife Jean Armour. His youngest son, Maxwell was born 4 days after Burns died, on the day of his funeral.

· Burns’ body was exhumed in 1815 to be placed in a new mausoleum in the town of Dumfries. During this process, a plaster cast of his skull was taken and was found to be larger than the average man’s skull.

· A book of Burns’ poetry was taken into space by Yorkshire born, NASA astronaut Nick Patrick, in 2010. Together they orbited the world 217 times and travelled no fewer than 5.7million miles

· American designer Tommy Hilfiger claims to be a direct descendant of Burns

· Globally there are approximately 2,500 registered fan clubs and societies that celebrate his life and his works.

And 5 famous quotes from Burns that remain in common use in the English language to this day:

“Now’s the day and Now’s the hour”

“A woman can make an average man great, and a great man average”

Enjoy your Haggis, neeps and tatties

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