Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's The Occasion? Burns Night

For most of us our birthday is a private occasion, into which we occasionally invite a few friends; still others of us are needy lucky enough to have the anniversaries of our birth noted in media, even (horror of horrors!) exploited as the subject of posts on obscure blogs. The rare few, however, are still having their special day celebrated centuries after it's technically been rendered redundant by death...

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1759, Robert Burns definitely falls into the final category; not only was the Bard of Ayrshire wildly successful in his life, his fame continues to grow apace since his early death in July 1796, at the age of 37.

An excellent example of a person born at the right place and the right time, Burns' legacy has not only grown in his native Scotland but was transplanted all over the world thanks to that country's invasion of the world following the Highland Clearances; they called it the British Empire, but let's be realistic... The English left just as soon as they could, took all the money they made and went back to London, leaving Scots and Irish in their wake.

Which is why there's no worldwide celebration of St. George's Day, but there are Burns Night suppers throughout the Scottish Diaspora on or around January 25th throughout North America, in Australia and New Zealand, and many other places besides. Even more startling is that Burns' fame has grown despite the fact that he was a poet, a profession whose death knell has been sounding for years.
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