Burns night 2022: When is it, where was Robert Burns born, when did he die - and where to celebrate in Glasgow

Robert Burns is Scotland’s most famous poet, and his birthday is celebrated every January.

Who was Robert Burns?

He was the humble ploughman's son whose ability to capture the Zeitgeist of 18th century Scotland through the medium of poetry and song carved a legacy which continues to shine bright centuries on.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Where and when was Robert Burns born?

Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759, the first of seven children to parents William Burnes and Agnes Broun.

The family lived in a small cottage built by Robert’s father, on the banks of the River Doon in Alloway, just two miles south of Ayr.

When and how did Robert Burns die?

Despite his fame, his cause of death still isn’t known for sure. The popular theory goes that Burns died from rheumatism having been found by the roadside in the freezing, pouring rain after a heavy drinking session.

Burns’ reputation as a hard drinker would be hard to contest but the truth is that the poet had been seriously ill and for a long time.

Scottish poet Robert Burns

He passed away at the age of just 37 on 21 July 1796, but had been suffering for at least five years before that.

In 1815 Burns remains are relocated to a lavishly-built mausoleum. His mother, Agnes Broun, who lived to the ripe old age of 88, is reported to have remarked: “Ah, Robbie, ye asked them for bread and they hae gi’en ye a stane”.

When is Burns night?

Every year on the 25th January, the day of his birth, Scots hold suppers complete with haggis, neeps and tatties, reciting the bard’s most famous poems.

Burns legacy

The Burns poem ‘Auld Land Syne’, which is famously sung around the globe on New Year’s Eve, is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the third most popular song in the English language behind ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.

Icons past and present from Michael Jackson and Abraham Lincoln to John Steinbeck and Bob Dylan have cited him as a huge influence. Dylan, in particular, described Burns in 2008 as his greatest inspiration.

Burns also contributes over £100 million to the Scottish economy every year.

What events are taking place in Glasgow?

The Bard & His Belles Burns Supper for the Beatson

This annual Burns supper will take place at the Hilton Glasgow on 21 January, and guests can expect an evening of entertainment, three course meal, special guests including author and speaker Alison Edgar MBE, and music from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Tickets are £70 and can be bought on the Beatson website.

Burns Big Night In

The National Trust for Scotland is once again live streaming this event from Burns Cottage in Ayrshire on 22 January. Hosted by Edith Bowman, guests can enjoy live entertainment from home, including music, poetry and a cocktail class from The Glenlivet. A Box of Braw for two, which contains a range of goodies, are available to order online along with tickets, priced at £26. Find out more on the Burns Big Night In website.

Question of Burns Supper

This supper from Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotlandis back for 2022 on 25 January. Guests can look forward to comedian Fred MacAulay, Robert Burns performer, Chris Tait, response on behalf of the lassies from Michelle McManus, song from Nicola Cassells, and all hosted by rugby legend, Andy Nicol. Taking place at Glasgow Hilton, tickets are £95 and include a three course meal, drinks reception and entertainment. Find out more and book here.

SMWS virtual Burns bash

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) will host a virtual Big Burns Bash to celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns, while appreciating Scotch malt whisky.

Taking place on Thursday 27 January (8 pm until 10 pm GMT) members and non-members from across the world are invited to join the Society’s Burns Night live stream on both Facebook and YouTube that features a line-up of music and poetry performances.

Hosted by long-standing BBC Radio Scotland presenter and whisky enthusiast, Vic Galloway, guests will be treated to music from Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale, Skye-based musician Donald Livingstone and Jamaican artists Nickeishia Barnes and Steve ‘Lightning’ Newland.

Society ambassador John McCheyne provides the ‘Immortal Memory’ and academic and human rights activist. Sir Geoff Palmer will discuss what Burns means to him. There will also be live poetry performances and chat with Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn and Scots-language poet Len Pennie.

For more information on the virtual Big Burns Bash please visit the SMWS website.

Ubiquitous Chip

Enjoy an informal Burns night Glasgow’s best known restaurants. The menu is a contemporary twist on the traditional Burns dishes that will be presented along with live entertainment and whisky cocktails all for £30 per person. Find out more online.

The Whisky Exchange Burns Night virtual quiz

Celebrate Burns Night with a virtual quiz and taste along with the Whisky Exchange team with a Perfect Measure tasting set to explore a variety of whiskies.

The pack will be accompanied by a live Zoom tasting and quiz hosted by The Whisky Exchange’s Alex Huskinson and Chris Bolton at 7pm on 25 January.

The set costs £34.95 and includes six 3cl sample bottles of Compass Box Orchard House, Whisky Exchange Exclusive Benromach 2010 Cask #390, Glenallachie 15 Year Old, Ardmore 2011 9-year-old Watt Whisky, and two blind whiskies.

Prizes include two tickets to the Whisky Show, a bottle of The Whisky Exchange’s Whisky of the Year, Deanston 18 plus free tickets to in-store tastings throughout 2022.

An invitation to the quiz will be emailed to the recipient when each pack is purchased.