Residents gather to celebrate Robert Burns in Beacon Hill Park, January 24, 2016. (Submitted by Irwin Henderson)

Happy 260th, Robbie Burns!

Bagpipes, haggis, and poetry to be had this weekend

Jan. 25 is Robert Burns’ 260th birthday.

As usual, there will be festivities, bagpipes and Haggis to be had throughout Victoria. But what makes Burns’ legacy — who only lived 37 years — travel 6,100 km from his birthplace of Alloway to Victoria?

“He is the national poet of Scotland,” said Irwin Henderson, past Provost of the Victoria Saltire Society. “He was voted in Scotland, within the last ten years, to be their most important person. Ahead of their Scottish engineers and philosophers and so on. I think this is because of his poems, and he wrote over 200 of them, were in the Scottish dialect when everybody else was doing elevated English.”

The Saltire Society hosts an annual wreath laying at the Robert Burns statue in Beacon Hill Park. Henderson explained that the statue was built in 1900 after a group of Scottish ex-pats managed to raise $2,000. The base of the statue used to be a working fountain, until the plumbing gave out sometime in the 1950s, Henderson said.

LOOK: Photo gallery: Monterey celebrates Robbie Burns

Although not on Robbie Burns Day proper, this years’ wreath ceremony begins at the statue at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24. Henderson said the ceremony will last about 15 minutes, and will include a piper, some poetry, and little sprigs of heather handed out to the crowd. Although not entirely sure, he felt this year’s poem would be A Man’s A Man For A’ That.

“He celebrated the common man and woman in his poems, he dealt with ordinary things: love, nature, he wrote a poem to a mouse, he took highland ballads and turned them into poetry. So it was very much the common touch. He’s been called the plowman’s poet, the people’s poet,” Henderson said.

“It’s that egalitarian plus Scottish Nationalism, plus there are many telling phrases in his poetry that have survived in common English. My love is like a red, red rose; A man’s a man for all that; and so on.”

After the ceremony is completed, participants traditionally head to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk Hall on Courtney St. for tea, snacks, and Scottish entertainment. Those events begins at 2:30 p.m., and are by donation.



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Book stores in Victoria notice uptick in sales for anti-racism titles

White Fragility, How to be an Antiracist are among the best selling titles

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Langford approves permit for 124-unit mass timber building

Tallwood 1 to be completed by late 2021

Stelly’s grads shocked after ‘anonymous friend’ pays for dinner

Friends took limo to Deep Cove Chalet to celebrate after graduation festivities cancelled

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Campbell River’s defunct cruise ship terminal to undergo evaluation for future plans

With no cruise ship coming through, the $16million terminal has been a white elephant for over 13 years

Most Read