If you think the long January nights are cold in New York, steer clear of Scotland. Except for tonight, 25 January, widely celebrated as Robert Burns Night.
Robert Burns was born on this day in 1759. A poet and lyricist, Burns adapted and popularized many ancient Scottish folk poems—as well as writing his own original material. One of the fathers of Literary Romanticism, Burns had a profound effect on many poets and writers after him, including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Steinbeck, Salinger and even Bob Dylan. Robert Burns remains a hero amongst his country men—in fact, in 2009, Burns was voted The Greatest Scotsman of All Time—and is lovingly and wistfully remembered amongst the Scots diaspora.
On Robert Burns night there’s plenty of whiskey. After welcomes and a grace, bagpipes are played while the haggis is presented. It is cut open while Burns’s “Address to a Haggis” is recited. After supper, toasts are shared (more whiskey!) and the evening is concluded with a hearty “Auld Lang Syne”—written, of course, by Scotland’s Favourite Son.
The cufflinks, shown above, come from the island of Iona—off the Western coast of Scotland, not far from Burns’s birthplace. Click on the photo to learn more about them.
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