23/01/2017 12:04 GMT | Updated 25/01/2017 15:47 GMT

What Is Burns Night? 9 Robert Burns Facts To Enjoy With A Glass Of Scotch

'O thou, my muse! Guid auld Scotch drink'

Come Wednesday it will be time to raise a glass of whisky, dust off your dancing shoes and gorge on er, haggis.

The occasion of course, is Burns Night.

A time to toast Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, celebrations typically entail poetry recitals, suppers and general merriment.

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Robert Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland 

The tradition began in 1801, five years after the Scottish bard’s death when a group of his close friends decided to commemorate his memory by hosting a dinner.

Scotland offers a veritable smorgasbord of events, including haggis-free options for vegetarians and mini-breaks in the poet’s birthplace of Alloway.   

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Anyone for haggis? (and neeps and tatties) 

Not to worry if you can’t get there in time, for the occasion is celebrated nationwide. A list of locations for the annual Scottish knees up in London has been handily gathered by Time Out.

“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” Robert Burns

And if you’re staying in for a quiet toast to the man who famously declared: “O thou, my muse! Guid auld Scotch drink,” check out these suggestions from The Whisky Exchange.  

9 Fast Facts About Robert Burns 

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1. He has more nicknames than a rapper: ‘Rabbie Burns’, ‘The Ploughman Poet’, ‘Scotland’s favourite son’, ‘the Bard of Ayrshire’ and (in Scotland) ‘The Bard’. 

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2. He wrote ‘Auld Lang Syne’, giving drunk people around the world an excuse to snog each other every year. 

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3. He founded a Bachelor’s Club when he was 20 with the first rule: “Every man proper for a member of this Society, must have a frank, honest, open heart; above anything dirty or mean; and must be a professed lover of one or more of the female sex.” 

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4. He wrote against slavery before most people were even aware of the abolitionism movement. 

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5. In 2009 he was voted ‘Greatest Ever Scot, beating William Wallace and even this man...

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6. Rabbie was loved in the Soviet Union as the ‘people’s poet’. They taught his poems in schools and even put him on a stamp in 1956.

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7. He said: “But to see her was to love her, love but her and love forever.

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8. JD Salinger was a fan, basing the title ‘Catcher in the Rye’ on Rabbie’s poem ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’. 


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9. He drank beer with everything, and on his birthday gives us an excuse to drink scotch (and eat haggis.)