People Around The World Toast To Robert Burns' 260th Birthday We remember Scottish poet Robert Burns on what would be the Bard of Ayrshire's 260th birthday. Burns' fans celebrate with traditional Scottish dishes.
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People Around The World Toast To Robert Burns' 260th Birthday

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People Around The World Toast To Robert Burns' 260th Birthday

People Around The World Toast To Robert Burns' 260th Birthday

People Around The World Toast To Robert Burns' 260th Birthday

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/688548953/688548954" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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We remember Scottish poet Robert Burns on what would be the Bard of Ayrshire's 260th birthday. Burns' fans celebrate with traditional Scottish dishes.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE ROYAL SCOTS DRAGOON GUARDS' "AULD LANG SYNE")

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind - the opening lines of "Auld Lang Syne," a song people often turn to while ringing in the new year.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Its words were written by Robert Burns, and today marks his 260th birthday. He's regarded as the national poet of Scotland. Here's Dr. Pauline Mackay, a lecturer in Robert Burns studies at the University of Glasgow.

PAULINE MACKAY: Robert Burns has done a great deal to take Scotland to the world. It's through Robert Burns that Scottish culture has been communicated in places that it may not have been otherwise.

MARTIN: One of his works is "Ae Fond Kiss," sung here by Scottish singer-songwriter Eddi Reader.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AE FOND KISS")

EDDI READER: (Singing) A fond kiss, and then we sever - a farewell, alas, forever.

ALISON WALKER: His legacy is the way he wrote and the compassion with which he wrote about a whole range of subjects.

MARTIN: That's Alison Walker. She's a journalist and member of the Guild of Burns Speakers (ph).

INSKEEP: Who knew?

MARTIN: That means she toasts Burns' accomplishments at what are called Burns suppers.

INSKEEP: Burns suppers have roots in the 1800s. People gather together on Burns' birthday to celebrate his works, a tradition that has spread.

WALKER: Honestly, everywhere, to - in more than 200 countries, there will be a Burns supper happening, which is phenomenal. It's just phenomenal. And they will all follow the traditional format.

INSKEEP: The format includes toasts and traditional Scottish dishes - another way that Burns has helped to spread Scottish culture.

MARTIN: So tonight maybe consider some haggis for dinner, a little Scotch whisky to toast the great poet.

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