The first 'Burns Supper' was held in July 1801 - on the fifth anniversary of Robert Burns' passing - when nine of his closest friends gathered to celebrate his life. It was such a success that they met on January 25 the following year - the date of his birth. Little did they know that their own tradition would become a global phenomenon!


Burns could hardly have imagined that his birthday would indeed be celebrated far beyond his homeland of Scotland.  Robert Burns night is commemorated all over the world from Tanzania, Delhi, St Petersburg, United States, Canada, Brazil, China and beyond. They come together, all over the world, to share food, speeches, poetry and song, in honour of the man now widely known as the National Bard of Scotland. He was voted in 2016 as the greatest Scot to have ever lived. Votes for him came from all over the world, showing that not only is he still 'weel kent' (well known) at home, but that he remains one of Scotland's best global ambassadors. This once obscure ploughman poet who died prematurely at the age of 37, penned 716 known works during his short life, 346 of which have been identified as songs.

At the age of 15 Robert composed his first song: 'Handsome Nell' for Nellie Kilpatrick, a young girl whom he formed a close bond with while working the harvest.  The song's message of unspoken love would feature prominently throughout Burns' career as he went on to write some of the most poignant poems and songs of the heart, all of which immortalized the many recipients of his affections.  He was to blame love and affection for turning him into a poet.  But Burns also wrote about nature, hardship, patriotism, and the brotherhood of man - a subject near and dear to his heart.

*Then let us pray, that come it may, As come it will for a' that, That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, Shall bear the gree (agree), an a' that. For a' that, an' a' that, It's coming yet for a' that, Than Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall Brithers (brothers) be for a' that.

Burns could be hard-hitting; but he was also humourous and a master satirist, and, above all else, he held integrity and honesty in the highest regard...An Honest Man, tho e'er sae (though ever so) poor, Is King of Men for a' that. Robert Burns has become so popular that his poetry and songs have been translated into numerous languages and recited worldwide with Auld Lang Syne (Old Long Since; meaning days gone by) probably one of his most popular (rewritten) songs, mostly sung at the stroke of midnight at New Year.



Who among us has never sung those immortal words of Burns?
As the close of 2020 finally draws near and a New Year is now just days away, The Robert Burns Club of St Andrew Society of Sarasota wish all our Society members, Friends and Family, a happy, safe, and healthy 2021!

Phyl Smith
Secretary, The Robert Burns Club
St Andrew Society of Sarasota
775 830 9543

*Taken from Robert Burns' song written in 1795: "Is There For Honest Poverty", or, more commonly known as: "A Man's A Man For A' That" .