The great thing about this year is that Robbie Burns suppers takes place on a Friday, but the national poet's birthday falls on a Monday. That means that there's a full weekend when we can all feel very Scottish.
Heck, the entire month of January should be proclaimed "Scottish Month in Canada." We began the month-long celebrations by bringing in the New Year on Hogmanay. We celebrated the birthday of a great Canadian and a great Scot on January 11 -- Sir John A. Macdonald's birthday. We gathered for the kilt skate on January 16, and again for the Burns Supper on the 22nd. And yesterday, January 25, we celebrate the actual birthday of the great poet.
Yesterday also happens to be the day for monthly social Meet-up of Ottawa area writers. The 25th of each month (except December) we gather at the Fox and Feather Pub on Elgin Street. So what better time to don the kilt, strap on the skates, and use the frozen canal as route highway from home to downtown? It takes five minutes to drive there, and about 45 minutes to walk. On skates (including time to put on and take off footwear) it will takes maybe 20.
The theme of this month's meet-up was "New Year's Resolutions." As you might expect with a group of writers, most of the resolutions involved writing more -- getting a particular project finished (or started) or writing so many words. Another worthy resolution is to read more, and to exercise the brain by memorizing. For each writers' meet-up on the 25th of each month, commit to memory a new poem or lyric -- starting, in honour of this day, "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose."
Many of the writers came with their own ways to acknowledge Burns Day. Laurence Gillieson brought the McPherson clan pin given to her by her father. Jill Nichols brought a copy of Burns' poetry. We celebrate both the "Scottishness" of Robert Burns and the fact that he was a great poet. There were several poets among the writers gathered last evening -- some content to write for their own enjoyment, some who've been published. January 25 should be acknowledged as a day for them to strut their stuff: Poetry Day in Canada!
Go out and read a poem, folks. Write a poem. Memorize a poem. Celebrate poetry!