As we prepare to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” millions around the world are gearing up to celebrate the 260th birthday of the song’s writer, Scottish national poet Robert Burns. On or near January 25 every year, an estimated 9 million people around the globe attend Burns Suppers in honor of the beloved bard.
At the Greenwich Burns’ Supper on January 26, the Greenwich Pipe Band will play rousing tunes and Stefanie Kies will wow the audience with beautiful renditions of Burns’ songs. A full dinner, dessert, and entertainment are all included. Ticket prices go up January 1.
Greenwich resident Stasha Healy couldn’t find a Burns Supper nearby so she created one in 2016. Healy studied Burns at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and said, “His incredible use of language, appreciation of beauty, love of freedom, and connection to nature are all qualities of Romantic poetry, a movement that particularly speaks to me.”
Burns is considered a pre-Romantic, as he was born a half generation before most others in that genre.
“Since he fathered 13 children with four women before his death at age 37, perhaps he should be categorized as an over-Romantic,” Healy joked.
What is a Burns Supper?
It’s an evening to gather with friends old and new to pay tribute to Robert Burns with performances of his songs, readings of his poetry, and toasts, and to be part of a longstanding tradition: The first Burns Supper was in 1801.
Burns’ Influence on American Writers and Songwriters
Burns’ influence on American writers and songwriters is deep: Bob Dylan has acknowledged that “A Red, Red Rose” was his single most important inspiration; John Steinbeck got the title for “Of Mice and Men” from “To a Mouse;” J.D. Salinger’s inspiration for the title “Catcher in the Rye” was Burns’ “Comin’ Through the Rye.” Even Michael Jackson was a fan – he was working on a stage production of Burns’ work when he died.
More Facts about Robert Burns
- The songs and poems of Robert Burns have been translated into more languages than any other works, except for Shakespeare and the Bible.
- 10,000 people attended Burns’ funeral when he died at age 37 on July 21, 1796.
- The Burns Supper is the largest literary festival in the world: In 1801 there was one nine-man dinner; now there are thousands of dinners around the world attended by more than nine million people. (Source: “’Every Honour Except Canonisation’: the global development of the Burns Supper: 1801 to 2009,” Clark McGinn, University of Glasgow Centre for Robert Burns Studies.)
- Burns was initiated as a Freemason on July 4, 1781. This is fitting because Burns was a supporter of America’s fight for independence (he was 17 in 1776), the French Revolution, and, of course, Scottish nationalism.
Tickets are $65 ($75 after December 31; $80 cash only at the door) and include a buffet dinner with traditional Scottish fare like haggis, neeps (turnips), and tatties (mashed potatoes); chicken will also be available. Entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, dessert, and a whisky toast are included in the price; a cash bar will be available.
Break out your tartan and come join the fun to celebrate the Ploughman Poet at this new Greenwich tradition.
All are welcome! Find out more and reserve tickets at BurnsSupperGreenwich2019.eventbrite.com.
Burns Supper is on Saturday, January 26, 2019, from 5:00-8:00 pm, ad the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, 1 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich