Did you notice around last New Year’s Eve all the coverage of Auld Lang Syne — and how we all sang it at midnight to welcome the new year, but few of us actually knew the words — or where the song originated? I think I saw or heard similar stories on all of the major networks and news channels.
Why, I wondered, when this song had been a tradition for so long, was everyone talking about it this year? The answer is that the Morgan Library in New York City has an exhibition about Auld Lang Syne and its author, Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), whose birthday we celebrate on the 25th of January. For more information about the exhibition, soon to conclude at the Morgan Library, click here.
Of course, we remember Burns for much more than just this one song, however often we sing it on New Year’s Eve.
Burns Nights, on January 25, are celebrated all over the world. If you have one in the planning, you can find some guidance here. I have attended only one Burns Night Supper, which I enjoyed very much, though I admit I ate sparingly of the Haggis. It generally tastes delicious, until you remember what the ingredients are.
Like tartans, bagpipes, golf, scotch whisky and oatmeal, Burns is part of the essential Scottish tradition. We remember his many poems — probably in truth just fragments of them —
My Love is Like a Red Red Rose…
To a Mouse…
The list is endless. How did the man accomplish anything but his writing? There is more than one person can absorb…
stomach of a sheep
sheep’s heart,lungs, kidney and liver
onions, beef suet, oatmeal
salt and pepper, stock — beef or chicken
Okay. That’s as far as I can go. I suggest that if you want to assemble these ingredients, you Google a recipe. I’ll have a ham sandwich.
But I will definitely raise a glass of Scotch Whisky in Burns’s honor!!!