Today (25 January) is the day we celebrate Scotland’s national treasure; the man who put our humble country on the map, whose words and poetry have been heard and celebrated all around the world. No, not Rod Stewart (our adopted son). That’s right, we’re talking Robert Burns.
Wrap up warm, tuck into your haggis (vegetarian and vegan options available nation-wide, or perhaps a Papa John’s haggis pizza?) and get your Burns book of poems out, because we’re bringing you some fun facts about the man himself, and our great nation of Scotland to celebrate the occasion.
- Michael Jackson’s famous hit, Thriller, was supposedly inspired by Burns’ poem, ‘Tam O’Shanter’.
2. The famous Scot was the first person to feature on a commemorative bottle of Coca Cola.
3. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Rabbie’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is one of the top three most popular songs in the English language.
4. A book of Burns’ poetry was taken into space by British-American astronaut, Nick Patrick. It orbited the earth 217 times on the 5.7-million-mile trip.
5. On Burns’ Night, we celebrate by enjoying our national dish: haggis, neeps and tatties, or haggis, turnips and potatoes for those who aren’t familiar with Scottish lingo. The haggis is a native creature to Scotland. Its legs on one side of its body are longer than the other side, so it can scamper about the Scottish Highland mountains and hills, although this does mean it can only cut about in one direction. Definitely real. We’d know. We’ve seen one.
6. Speaking of haggis, did you know it’s actually illegal to take haggis with you to the USA? That’s right, our national dish isn’t welcome across the pond, because it includes one crucial ingredient: sheep’s lungs. We think it’s absolutely offal.
7. Around 13 per cent of the Scottish population has ginger hair – that’s higher than any other country in the world.
8. Scottish penguin, Nils Olav III, who lives at Edinburgh Zoo, is actually the mascot and colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard. As if that wasn’t weird enough, he’s actually not the first Scottish penguin to hold the titles: two penguins before him have had the honour. In 2016, Nils was promoted to brigadier in a ceremony attended by over 50 members of the Norwegian King’s Guard. That makes us feel great about our own achievements…
9. Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. You may think this has some magical back story, but sadly no. It’s actually because the unicorn is (apparently) the enemy of the lion. And which country do you suppose has the lion as their national animal? We’ll leave you to guess…
If Robert Burns was around today, what do you think he’d do? Would the famous romantic be on Tinder? We like to think so, and it would probably look something like this: