Tales, Tartan & Tam o' Shanters
What is it that makes Scotland so special? Is it the distinctive sound of our national instrument, the bagpipes? Or the legendary myth of a certain Loch Ness monster? Maybe it is the beautiful textures of an intricately woven tartan scarf hanging proudly from the neck of those that you meet?
Well, we here at TDM think what especially makes Scotland great are the people. Whether it be the kind stranger that helps you to find the nearest train station when you are lost on George Street, the friendly barista that talks you through the entire coffee range in a café on Buchanan Street (have you heard the phrase ‘"People Make Glasgow?") or the many famous Scots that have gone on to achieve great things in the world. One of which, a certain poet Mr. Robbie Burns, is particularly commemorated.
The truth is Scotland owes a lot to Robbie. Without him we may never have sung Auld Lang Syne on New Year, never have spun round an Eightsome Reel at a Burn's night ceilidh or cited our Address to a Haggis to our beloved national dish.
But who actually is this figure and why do the Scots admire him so much?
Burns was born on the 25th January 1759 in the wee Scottish town of Alloway. He was born into a farming family, and having been brought up enduring hard manual labour this took it’s toll on Robbie who later turned his attention to poetry, nature, drink and women. Known as somewhat of a ladies man, Burns fathered 12 children to 4 different women. His last born child, Maxwell, was born on the same day as his funeral on 25 July 1796.
His first published collection took off and Burns became exceptionally well known. After a stint in Edinburgh, experiencing further life events which inspired more and more successful writing, he moved to Dumfriesshire. Despite leading a busy and life, and accomplishing so much as a poet, Burns’ success was short lived as he passed away at the tender age of 37 of rheumatic fever. Burns had became a global success with work that have stood the test of time, however Burns died a very poor man - he was thought to have just £1 to his name at the time of his passing.
However today his legacy still lives on, and Robert Burns Day is celebrated annually on his birthday with poems, ceilidhs, whisky, and of course haggis. Many of his poems are written in broad Scots dialect. Why not see if you can get your head (and tongue) around some of his work?
Even if you are not completely familiar with the famous Scots figure, you will have heard of some of his additional inspirations. For example, Burns' poetry is said to have inspired some famous American novelists, such as John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' after he read Burns' 'To a Mouse'.
If you happen to be in Scotland on the 25th January, you can find information about Robbie Burns events and celebrations here: https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/scotland/burns-night-guide/
The run up to Robbie Burns day has got us thinking of all those things that make Scotland special. Here is a list of a few of our favourites: (with one important thing missing, our beautiful knitwear of course!)
Photo credit: Pinterest