The 25th of January is an important day in the Scottish calendar. It is day that the life and works of Robert (Rabbie) Burns are celebrated.

Many of the works of this man have entered the language worldwide but people won’t be sure of their origins. For example, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’ comes from a Burns poem. ‘Ae Fond Kiss‘ is a Burns poem as was ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

There has been much talk of making St Andrews day -November 30th – into a proper national holiday in Scotland but I would prefer by far if we were to make the 25th of January the national holiday, for several reasons…

Firstly, no one in Scotland really gives a bollocks about St Andrew. There are some legends about what he supposedly did in Scotland but they are certainly not at the forefront of national consciousness and it is not only Scotland. He is a patron saint that is shared by several other countries as well (Greece, Romania and Russia).

Secondly, when it comes to Saints days as national days the Irish have the market cornered.

Third, Burns night already is celebrated all around the world by millions of expats and second, third and fourth generation Scots and others.

Fourth, the works of Burns are absolutely fantastic and have a communitarian and revolutionary air… try the last two verses of ‘Scots Wha Hae‘ for example..

By Oppression’s woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!-
Let us Do or Die!
The above poem was an imagined speech given by Robert the Bruce before the battle of Bannockburn when Scotland regained independence from England and was an unofficial national anthem of the country. The full thing is here.
So have a good whisky on the 25th this year – a good one mind ( I shall be having several) and toast your friends and family and then have another one and toast for for Scottish independence and a better society than we have now. Burns would have approved and would happily have devoured several whiskies of his own.
More Burns quotes -some slightly altered…
“Ye hypocrites! are these your pranks? To Murder men, and give God thanks? Desist for same! proceed no further: God won’t accept your thanks for Murther!”

“Suspicion is a heavy armor and with its weight it impedes more than it protects.”

“How wretched is the person who hangs on by the favors of the powerful.”

“Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn”

“While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things, The fate of empires and the fall of kings; While quacks of State must each produce his plan, And even children lisp the Rights of Man; Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention, The Rights of Woman merit some attention.”

“Their sighing , canting , grace-proud faces, their three-mile prayers, and half-mile graces.”

“Affliction’s sons are brothers in distress; A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!”

“O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.”
(O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.)


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