Robert Burns is rightfully one of Scotland's greatest historical figures but there is so much more to him than meets the eye. Rabbie Burns and his poetic works are beloved by everyone across Scotland, including our very own staff, and we Scots love to spread the word about his talents.
Here is our list of 10 facts you probably didn't know about Robert Burns!
1. AULD LANG SYNE IS USED ACROSS THE GLOBE
In China "Auld Lang Syne" is actually a song of friendship and is played at Graduation ceremonies and more formal events. It is known as "You Yi Di Jiu Tian Chang" or "Friendship Forever" and has a more calming and orchestral feel to it than Robert Burns's original version.
2. HIS POEMS ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD
A book containing excerpts of Burns's poetry was taken into space! British/American astronaut Nick Patrick brought the book with him during his two-week space trip in 2010 where he travelled over 5 million miles. Enjoying Burns's poetry whilst looking at planet Earth must have been very relaxing!
3. RABBIE BURNS WAS USED ON A WELL-KNOWN BEVERAGE
Robert Burns was the first-ever person to appear on a special bottle of Coca-Cola. To celebrate his 250th anniversary, Burns featured on special bottles of Coca-Cola in the United Kingdom. Around 1 million bottles were produced by the Coca-Cola company and have now become quite valuable and rare on websites such as eBay.
4. HE’S MADE IT TO THE BIG SCREEN
A number of Robert Burns poems have appeared in various Hollywood films over the years, including "It's a Wonderful Life", "When Harry met Sally" and the critically acclaimed "Forrest Gump". It's a shame Burns wasn't alive to claim any of the royalties made from the use of his work!
5. ALL THE LOVE MUST HAVE GONE TO HIS HEAD
Way back in the year 1815 Burns's body was removed from his grave to be placed in a museum in Dumfries. A plaster cast was taken of his skull which after much analysis proved to be much larger than the average man's skull. Could it be that Burns had a much larger brain than the average human being?
6. THE MAN HAS HIS VERY OWN MUSEUM
Speaking of Dumfries it is also possible to visit the Robert Burns Centre to learn more about the famous poet. Right next to the banks of the River Nith the Robert Burns Centre gives more insight into Burns' time in the small market town. The centre holds many original manuscripts and belongings of Burns as well as a to-scale model of what Dumfries looked like in the 1790s. In the evenings, the centre even turns into a film theatre!
7. BURNS’S LINEAGE LIVES ON
Burns supposedly fathered at least 13 children to four different women. His wife, Jean Armour, gave birth to nine of his children, but sadly only three of them survived infancy. Burns's oldest child, Elizabeth, was born after Burns had an affair with his mother’s servant. Burns's youngest child, Maxwell was born on the day of his funeral. There are probably many descendants of Robert Burns alive today in Scotland and around the world.
8. HE TRAGICALLY DIED YOUNG
Burns died in 1796 at the tragically young age of only 37. Although the life expectancy was a lot lower back then than it is now, this was still a very young age to go out at. It is expected that Burns died from an infection following a tooth extraction, just proving how important it is to take care of your teeth!
9. THE BEST SCOT EVER
Burns was voted as the greatest ever Scot by an STV poll back in 2009. Burns beat out stiff competition from the likes of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Jock Stein, and David Tennant. Burns won a similar poll in 2016 with 44% of the votes.
10. HIS EFFIGY CAN BE FOUND ALL AROUND THE WORLD
There are more statues dedicated to Burns worldwide than any other historical figure beating even Christoper Columbus and Queen Victoria. These monuments can be found in Scotland, America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and France.