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SatJan 25

Burns Night – January 25, 2025

Burns Night honors the iconic Scottish poet Robert Burns, who wrote the New Year’s Eve anthem Auld Lang Syne. Many Scots host a Burns supper on January 25, the poet’s birthday, although they can be held throughout the year. Some of the suppers can be grand affairs; others less formal. The events will often feature a bagpiper or traditional Scottish music, and the Scottish pudding, Haggis, is served.

Burns Night timeline

January 25, 1759
Burns is Born

Robert Burns is born in Alloway, Scotland.

Debut Poetry Collection

Burns publishes his first poetry collection, "Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," also known as the "Kilmarnock Edition," which popularizes and promotes the Scottish language and is considered one of his most important legacies.

Love Affairs

His first child, Elizabeth 'Bess' Burns, is born to his mother's servant, Elizabeth Paton, while he is pursuing a relationship with another woman, Jean Armour.

"To Mary in Heaven"

Burns falls in love with Mary Campbell, the inspiration for some of his most famous romantic poems.

A Marriage and a Timeless Song

Burns marries Jean Armour and he writes one of the most widely known songs in the world, typically sung on New Years' Eve, 'Auld Lang Syne.'

July 21, 1796
Death of a Poet

Burns dies at the age of 37 in Dumfries, Scotland.

July 21, 1801
The First Burns Supper

His friends host this event on the fifth anniversary of his death at Burns Cottage, the poet's former residence.

Great Scot!

Burns is voted 'The Greatest Scot Ever' by the Scottish public.

How to Observe Burns Night

  1. Read some poetry

    Choose from either the four-volume "Poetry of Robert Burns," or the "Reliques of Robert Burns," which also includes his collection of folk songs, letters, and criticism. You'll find the roots of Romanticism in his books, along with evidence of his love affair with Scotland.

  2. Host a Burns supper

    Find some haggis at your local specialty grocer and host a Burns supper for your literary friends. Put on some traditional Scottish music while your guests read some of Burns' works.

  3. Bone up on your Scottish literary history

    Understand why Burns and other Scottish poets are such revered historical figures in Scotland, and why they're a huge part of Scotland's cultural landscape.

Read These 5 Robert Burns Poems

  1. "Halloween"

    Often recited on Halloween in Scotland, this poem was written in both English and Scottish.

  2. "To a Louse"

    In this poem, Burns imagines a louse crawling into a lady's bonnet in church.

  3. "Red Red Rose"

    Bob Dylan has cited this famous romantic poem as a major lyrical inspiration.

  4. "Tam O'Shanter"

    This long poem tells the tale of a farmer who likes to spend more time drinking with his mates than with his impatient wife.

  5. "To a Mouse"

    This Burns poem inspired Steinbeck's famous novel "Of Mice and Men."

Why Burns Night is Important

  1. He's Scotland's national poet

    Burns, born in 1759, wrote many of Scotland's most famous poems and remains a revered literary figure. He was a leader of the Romantic movement and helped inspire liberalism and socialism.

  2. Scotland is a land of poets

    Poetry's in the bloodstream of Scotland. Burns inspired many poets following his death, and perhaps no other country is more associated with poetry. Volumes of Scottish collections have been published over the centuries — many becoming bestsellers.

  3. Burns came from humble circumstances

    Burns was born into poverty near Ayr, on Scotland's west coast. As a child, his family moved around the country looking for a better life. No one could've predicted he would become one of Scotland's most famous figures.

Burns Night dates

2025January 25Saturday
2026January 25Sunday
2027January 25Monday
2028January 25Tuesday
2029January 25Thursday

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