Tonight is Burns’ Night, when we celebrate our most famous writer and lyricist.
Few poets capture the world’s imagination like Rabbie Burns. Worldwide people quote from Tam o’Shanter, sing My Love is Like A Red, Red Rose, or entertain children and grandchildren with an animated recital of To A Mouse.
And when the world welcomes the New Year, how do they do it? From New York to Nagoya, Auckland to Alberta, Canberra to Capetown, they hold hands and sing Auld Lang Syne.
There is a measure of Scotland in every Burns verse. A nod to our character as a nation; who we are and what it means to be Scottish. ‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!’
Moreover, Burns is a treasure trove of Scots sayings and expressions that remain in use to this day thanks to The Bard.
In many ways, he is the reason the mither tongue has survived every imaginable political and social upheaval, for he captured the romance of our language which is the romance of our country.
I’ve already attended some Burns Suppers for 2011, with more to come, and with pride we celebrated our Bard and his place in our history, our culture, and our hearts.
I hope every Scot takes the opportunity to read a verse – you can even download an app! – or raise a glass to the memory of Robert Burns, the son of an Ayrshire tenant farmer who became one of the world’s most lauded poets.