Celebrate Burn’s Night – the sustainable way

24 January 2022

A bronze statue of bard Robert Burns

After the excitement of Christmas, January can seem rather dull and quiet. Burns Night however on the 25th serves up the perfect opportunity to enjoy some fun and warmth wherever you are, from a dram of whisky and a spot of food with friends, to a reading of one of his poems.

Robert Burns was born in the Ayrshire village of Alloway, in 1759, to tenant farmers William Burnes and Agnes Braun. Life on the farm was tough, but Burns’ education allowed him to explore his creative side, writing poetry and songs. Much of his work reflected life around him and his interests, including nature. With success in his late 20s, his work was soon revered throughout the country.

Still considered one of Scotland’s greatest creative exports today, it’s no wonder we celebrate Burns Night over 200 years after he died. But it’s more important than ever to consider our impact on our planet and climate, from how we shop and travel, to how we eat. If you’re planning a celebration of your own, there are lots of ways to celebrate Burns Night sustainably:

  • Food is key to a great Burns Night but perhaps this year explore local suppliers for your haggis, neeps and tatties.
  • If you have any leftovers, use them for breakfast the next morning – think bubble and squeak with a haggis twist.
  • No Burns Night would be complete without a dram of whisky. Perhaps consider a net zero distillery for your whisky.
  • Look for more sustainable tartan alternatives – options for vegan fabrics are growing all the time, with brands like Slanj Kilts creating their own vegan tartan and looking at using other sustainable materials such as hemp for their future Scottish vegan creations.
  • If you’re looking to dress the part, there are lots of shopping alternatives such as local charity shops or online marketplaces to source a second-hand kilt or tartan ensemble from.
  • As well as reciting some of the bard’s works, you can try your hand at a Burn’s nature-inspired poem – he wrote 118 poems about nature. A few include:
    • To A Mountain Daisy
    • My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose
    • The Rosebud
    • Address to a Woodlark
    • The Twa Dogs
    • To A Louse
    • The Wounded Hare
    • On Glenriddell’s Fox Breaking his Chain
    • And the much loved ‘To a Mouse‘
A table with a cut open haggis on a chopping board, surrounded by small bowls of potato and turnips

Robert Burns Facts

Impress your friends at your Burns gathering with some interesting facts about the Bard.

  • Burns started getting creative when he was young, writing his first poem aged 15. He ended up writing 716 altogether.
  • Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure, after Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Auld Lang Syne is the third most performed song in the world – behind Happy Birthday and For (S)He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.
  • The Mitchell Library in Glasgow holds the largest collection of Burns works, with translations into more than 30 languages.
  • Mosgiel, near Dunedin, New Zealand was named after Robert Burns’ farm in Ayrshire.