Burns Night 2024: What's It All About?

Here in Scotland (and in Edinburgh in particular) we don’t need too much of an excuse to throw caution to the wind and have a little bit of a dance and a party.

Well, we’re not moments into the pale and icy arms of January, that the time is upon us once more…And thank goodness for that.

Burns Night is just about here and, between you and us, we’re about ready to have another celebration.

But do you know what Burns Night is? Why do we celebrate it? How do we celebrate it? And who was this Burns fellow anyway?

Here at Belvoir Edinburgh, we like to think that we are here to answer the big questions. And so, let’s dive right in and get ourselves up to speed.

What’s Burns Night all about? Let’s take a look.

Who Was Robert Burns?: Robert Burns (born 25th January, 1759, in Dumfries) is undoubtedly Scotland’s most famous poet and literary figure. Writing more than 550 verses and songs before his death at the tender age of 37, the 18th Century writer is also seen as something of a revolutionary figure worldwide because of his social and political commentary. It is, however, his use of beautiful language and mastery with the pen of which he is most famous. 

Why Celebrate?: It cannot be overstated just how important Robert Burns is to the nation of Scotland. As noted above, he is the national poet of Scotland and a key figure in the history of this great nation. We like to have a celebration in this city – indeed this entire country- so an opportunity to turn on the party lights and have a good time is not one that we are likely to pass up. A great man deserves a great shindig. And we’re going to give him one. 

When Is It?: The very first celebration of Burns was actually held during July in 1801. A group of friends of the great man got together for drinks and food to mark the anniversary of the poet’s death. A storming success, the action was repeated the following year, except this time on his birthday, 25th January. And so a tradition was born. From there on in, Burns Night has been held on this date and is widely celebrated across the world.

How Do You Celebrate?: Well, with a good old Scottish party of course!…Okay, you knew that already. But it’s always worth pointing out we think…But it is a similar sort of recipe: eat, drink and be merry. Of course, it all has a particular Scottish flavour. Poems will be read. Bagpipes will be blown. And, yes, a lot of food and drink will be consumed. It’s what we do best. And, on Burns Night, we do it passion in our hearts and a song on our voice.

What Do You Eat?: As you’ve probably guessed, Burns Night has a particularly Scottish feel to it. As a starter, Cullen and Skink is a definite favourite. And for the main event? Yes, you’ve guessed it: haggis. It’s ordinarily washed down with some of the finest Scottish Whisky, but, of course, you can opt for a non-alcoholic option if you are the designated driver or if it’s just not your thing. 

Burns Night is a great opportunity to stop and reflect on one of the most iconic of all literary figures. And he was from right here in Scotland.

How will you be celebrating this 25th January? Be sure to let us know 

From everyone here at Belvoir Edinburgh, we hope you are all happy and well.

Have a super week. And a very happy Burns Night