January 2020 (Vol. 43, Number 07)
The Banner Says…
Robert Burns-The heaven taught ploughman
As the sun rises on a new decade, I hope the year (and decade) ahead will be good to you and filled with health, happiness and hopefully include celebrating your Scottish identity.
One way to celebrate your Scottish identity this month is honouring Scotland’s Bard, Robert Burns.
Robert Burns is Scotland’s most celebrated poet. Also known as Rabbie Burns, or The Bard, he was born in 1759, the son of a farmer. During his short lifetime, he penned hundreds of songs and poems, and the anniversary of his birth is celebrated on 25th January.
Everyone knows Burns as Scotland’s most famous and respected poet. Even people with no connection to Scotland or possibly not aware of his name are likely to know some of his
works. You don’t need to be a poetry or literary buff to be exposed to Robert Burns, either his works or his likeness.
An international icon
How many Hogmanay’s worldwide have started with the words of Robert Burns? Auld Lang Syne is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the top three most popular songs in the entire English language, the others being Happy Birthday and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. Auld Lang Syne has also been adapted by the Chinese and represents a song of friendship which is often played at graduations and gatherings.
Robert Burns has become an international icon – the Ayrshire ploughman who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s best-known poets. In 2009 Burns was voted “The Greatest Scot” ever, polling ahead of Scottish cultural giants Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.
I have seen them in Scotland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England and the USA. A replica of Burns’ birthplace in Alloway can even be found in Atlanta, Georgia which was constructed by the Burns Club of Atlanta.
Robert also is the first person whose face has ever appeared on a bottle of drinks giant Coca-Cola. You may have also seen Robert’s face on stamps, shortbread tins, money, post cards, mugs and an edition of his works has even been blasted into space, so if there is life
beyond this Earth I hope they too enjoy Scotland’s most famous son.
Whilst Burns wrote in both English and Scots his works have been translated in numerous languages around the world including most European languages, Russian and Japanese.
In this issue
We certainly give a nod to Burns in this issue with some great content, tartan and recipes. Also make sure you have a look at our events page and hopefully you can find a Burns Supper taking place near you, or perhaps this issue will inspire you to host one of your own. You certainly do not need to pipe in a haggis to raise a glass, and awareness of the night, to your friends at your own home.
January heralds in a new year and decade and we have you covered on some great things to do this year. Scotland will be celebrating a new themed year, the Year of Coasts and
Waters 2020. The year is full of events and places to visit which will celebrate the remarkable coasts and waters of Scotland.
In Australia the sound of Scotland will be very much be heard across the country as the Year of Scotland Australia 2020 will see a diverse range of Scottish talent heading Downunder for an unprecedented program which goes across all regions. No country in
the world has had this opportunity before and I urge all our readers to find out what is taking place and support and enjoy the amazing year of entertainment coming.
Across the globe the bagpipes will continue to sound, we have a roundup of some of the contests taking place in Scotland and internationally. Of course, there is always a Highland Games or Scottish festivals taking place throughout 2020 to hear the sound of Scotland.
Whilst Robert Burns may be a Scottish icon, Scotland also has many iconic landmarks. Firmly established on the tourist trail are heavy weights Loch Ness, The Calanais Standing
Stones, Arthur’s Seat and Dunnottar Castle. David C Weinczok gives us some alternatives to try on your next Scottish visit, allowing you to try something new, with less people.
The legacy of Robert Burns
The legacy of Robert Burns is an incredible one. In his 37 short years he left the world with works that touched upon universal emotions that is still relevant hundreds of years later. Robert never forgot his roots and craved greater social equality. He was called a ‘heaven taught ploughman’ by an Edinburgh critic in the late 1700’s and has inspired people from every walk of life for many years.
As we begin the 2020’s, as Burn’s penned in Auld Lang Syne, all of us that contribute to the Scottish Banner hope you will ‘tak a cup o’ kindness’ and go forward into the new year with a sense of belonging and hope for the future.
Wishing all our readers, advertisers and friends the very best for the year ahead and of course a very Happy Burns Night!
Do you have a Robert Burns related story? How are you celebrating Burns Night? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us