Celebrating Burns Night – A Scottish Tradition

We guarantee Burns Night is not what you’re thinking; it has nothing to do with fire or burning. In fact, Burns Night is a Scottish tradition to honor and celebrate the life of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.

Burns passed away in 1796 but his career and life have been celebrated around the world ever since! If you’re studying abroad in Scotland, you’re sure to encounter a variety of activities happening every year on January 25. This was the day Burn was born, and thus every year Burns Day takes place on January 25.

Who is Robert Burns?

If you’re sitting there thinking you have no idea who Robert Burns is, you are probably wrong! You’ve most likely been singing Burn’s most popular piece of work every year on New Year’s Eve. That’s right, he’s the writer of Auld Lang Syne which has become a tradition for ringing in the New Year. (You know, the song that is playing when Carrie runs through New York City, in her pajamas and high heels, to tell Miranda that she’s not alone on New Year’s Eve.)

Burns has a slew of other famous poetry and in 2009 he was named the greatest Scot of all time. Needless to say, this is one guy you want to know about.

What happens on Burns Night?

Essentially Burns Night is just a huge celebration that usually includes a Burns Supper. A typical Burns supper includes Haggis, which is a type of sausage that is prepared in a sheep’s stomach which is minced with onion, oatmeal, suet (raw beef or lamb fat), spices, and salt, mixed with stock. (Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). It’s common for supper to also include mashed neeps and tatties, (similar to a turnip), swedes (yellow turnips), and potatoes.

No doubt there will be a variety of events happening around town in USAC’s two study abroad locations: Stirling and St. Andrews, but no matter where you are in Scotland you can celebrate with these events happening across the country: https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/scotland/burns-night-guide/.

Studying abroad in Scotland

Did you know that Scotland was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world? That is reason itself to choose this as your study abroad destination. Additional reasons include the ability to study a diverse range of disciplines such as Astrophysics, Biblical Studies, Chemistry, Comparative Literature, Earth Science, Economics, Environmental Sciences, International Relations, Medieval History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Psychology, and Scottish History, just to name a few. We’ll also take you on breathtaking field trips to the Scottish Highlands, Loch Ness, and other beautiful locations throughout the country. USAC has two locations where students can spend a semester or year, you can learn more about each one below.


St. Andrews