Friday 25th January is Burns Night in Scotland.
Burns Night is a revered date in the Scottish calendar and celebrates, on the anniversary of his birthday, the life and works of their national Bard, Robert Burns.
Born around 250 years ago; some consider his best known poem as ‘Auld Lang Syne’, though others believe he did not write it himself, but was the first person credited with writing it down for posterity as part of his attempt to preserve Scottish traditional songs.
The evening centres on the entrance of the haggis (a type of sausage made from a sheep's stomach) on a large platter to the sound of ceremonial bagpipes.
When the haggis is on the table, the host reads the "Address to a Haggis". This is an ode that Robert Burns wrote to the Scottish delicacy!
At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces and the meal begins.
Amongst other works, Burns also write the famous 'Ode to a Louse':
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!
This is generally translated into modern language as:
And would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!
Image of Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmyth [Public domain], via Wikipedia.
The same date, 25th January, is St Dwynwen’s Day in Wales. St Dwynwen is the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine, being their patron saint of love.