POETRY lovers around the world are celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national bard with a host of Burns Night events.
In London, a new video showing armed forces personnel and diplomatic staff across the world reciting Robert Burns’s poetry is being launched at a reception at Lancaster House on Wednesday.
The event, hosted by Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, will feature bagpipe music, a whisky tasting, and music from Scottish folk singer Katy Thompson, who will perform My Heart is in the Highlands and My Love is Like a Red Red Rose.
The video shows UK Government staff and Scottish service personnel reciting the renowned Burns poem Address to a Haggis.
Mr Mundell said: “From Ayrshire to Atlanta, and from Cumbernauld to Canberra, on Wednesday Burns’s work will be celebrated in homes and Burns societies all over the world.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended an international Burns Night event in the Corn Exchange Edinburgh on Tuesday night, alongside more than 350 students, dignitaries and university staff from 72 different countries.
The event saw the launch of a new campaign to welcome students from around the world, backed by all 19 higher education institutions across Scotland.
Born on January 25, 1759 in Alloway in South Ayrshire, Robert Burns is famed for poems and songs including To a Mouse, A Red Red Rose, Tam o’Shanter and Ae Fond Kiss.
Burns Night celebrations are not confined to January 25, with events taking part throughout the week.
The Big Burns Supper festival in Dumfries and Galloway, dubbed the “world’s biggest Burns Night celebration”, is under way.
The ten-day festival features music, theatre, comedy and a range of other events with performances from the likes of Lulu and Nicola Benedetti.
The Red Red Rose Street festival in Edinburgh is a new week-long celebration of the poet’s connections with the Scottish capital, encouraging visitors to follow a literary trail along Rose Street.
In Alloway, a special programme of events is taking place around Burns Cottage and surrounding landmarks as part of the Alloway 1759 celebrations.
Three female humanitarians – Marcelline Budza, a young Congolese woman working to empower women, Jo Cox, the MP killed in her Yorkshire constituency last year, and Margaret Simpson, who has helped change lives for disabled people in the Scottish Borders – are all in the running for this year’s Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, which will be announced in Alloway on Sunday.
The award, supported by South Ayrshire Council and Scotland’s Winter Festivals, recognises courage, commitment, inspiration and hands-on humanitarian efforts from people of any nationality, race, age or gender.
A violin that Burns is said to have danced to will be played at the Burns Big Birthday Bash at Burns Cottage on Sunday.
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