Celebrating Burns Night in Oxford

Robert Burns

Scotland celebrates one of its most renowned poets, Robert Burns, every year on the day of his birthday; January 25th. A celebration I particularly loved during my year in Edinburgh, a traditional Burns Night features the redention of classics such as To a Haggis over a hearty Scottish broth and Haggis, the popular local dish. After a few slugs of whiskey, everyone’s then feeling more than a little festive and you can expect bagpipes, the rather humorous Toast to the Lassies and Laddies and even, if you’re lucky, some Ceilidh dancing! And what’s more, you can still join in the fun in Oxford as Burns Night now takes place across the country: Oxford Colleges such as St Cross College organise themed halls and the Oxford Union is hosting a Burns Night tonight. Of course, I’m joining in!

Robert Burns and his literary heritage continues to inspire many writers and artists even today. Did you know, for example, that J.D. Salinger named his well-known novel The Catcher in the Rye after Burn’s poem Comin’ thro’ the Rye? Or that Bob Dylan selected Burn’s song A Red, Red Rose as source of his greatest creative inspiration? If you want to learn a bit more about this Scottish hero, the Burns Night special on the Official Gateway to Scotland website is a great starting point and visitors can even take advantage of a free Burns App, with downloadable access to all his works. Check it out and, if inspired, don’t forget to come along!

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