Happy Burns night! Well, almost! On the 25th of January, Scots and lovers of poetry around the world celebrate Robert Burns, our national poet.
Burns is best know as the writer of one of the top 3 most known songs in the English language (Auld Lang Syne), however his talents go much further! He was a man ahead of his time, writing poetry and songs about inequality, the value of money over people, and the environment. And of course, love. Rab (as he is often called in Scotland) liked the ladies, as his poetry reflects.
It's traditional to celebrate him with a Burns Supper, a night where we eat haggis, drink whiskey and read and sing his poetry and songs. We have collected some links for you to plan your perfect Burns night and learn all about him, at the same time as practising your English!
The lovely people at Visit Scotland have prepared some brilliant PDF resources explaining all about the history of Burns, and how to plan the perfect night, from selected poems to recipes.
Please click the appropriate link for your level
Listening practice No Burns supper is complete without haggis! Learn here how to hunt one down ;)
There are lots of ways to access information about Burns and his poetry. The always wonderful Scottish Poetry Library has a great summary of his life and selection of poetry which you can find HERE .
Burns wrote mianly in Scots, not in English, so it can be difficult to understand his poetry, even for Scottish people! However, you can find some translations of poems into English HERE and a useful Burns translator from The National Trust for Scotland HERE.
And to finish, the wonderful Scottish singer Sheena Wellington performing A Man's a Man for a'That at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1997. This a beautiful song and poem about how we should value the person, not their money, and that all people are equal. You can find the poem in Scots and English below.
We hope you have a wonderful Burns night! Slàinte!
Learn vocabulary and expressions while you communicate in English! Please feel free to comment on our posts or ask any questions