Burns Night, a celebration commemorating the life of the iconic Scottish Poet Robert Burns, is now upon us. Born in 1759, Burns is generally known as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated for his work around the world. Many Scots celebrate the day with a Burns Supper – although the tradition is popular amongst fans of the poet across the world.
VisitScotland dug a bit deeper into the Burns’ legacy and uncovered some interesting facts about Robert Burns….
- American music legend Bob Dylan revealed that Burns’ 1794 song ‘A Red, Red Rose’ is his source of greatest creative inspiration.
- There are more statues dedicated to Robert Burns around the world than any other non-religious figure, after Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus.
- Robert Burns’ ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records to be one of the top three most popular songs in the English language, alongside Happy Birthday and ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow.’
- Robert Burns was the first person ever to feature on a commemorative bottle of Coca Cola, in 2009.
- Burns’ works have appeared in hundreds of films and TV programmes, including It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), When Harry Met Sally (1989) and the 2008 film version of Sex in the City.
- The world’s largest Burns’ collection is thought to be in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow which includes the poet’s works translated in more than 30 languages.
- Astronaut Nick Patrick carried into orbit a miniature book of Burns’ poetry on a two week long space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7 million mile trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.
- Michael Jackson is said to have been a huge fan of Robert Burns and together with a friend, David Guest, recorded an album which set Rabbie’s poems to music. It si claimed that Jackson’s smash-hit Thriller was inspired by Burns’ Tam O’Shanter
- Burns’ skull was measured when his body was exhumed in 1815 to be placed in the new mausoleum in Dumfries, and it was discovered to be bigger than average.
- STV viewers voted Burns The Greatest Scot in 2009, leaving behind William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Sir Alexander Fleming.