New Year has just passed and all over the World the event is celebrated, very often with Burns Anthem of Auld Lang Syne.

The BBC recorded this fact with the following “Now research from the University of Edinburgh has revealed the origins of the Hogmanay tradition are connected to freemasonry.

Singing with arms crossed and hands joined was a parting ritual at many Masonic lodges.”

So there you go, the reason for the song’s worldwide popularity is the Freemasons. I can see why the London controlled BBC would be attracted to this explanation. England has always been bemused and find it inexplicable that a song written and created in tiny Scotland has established itself as the number one friendship song across the world.

The more so in that it is written in a language that the colonial masters in London have worked long and hard to suppress and eliminate. How did that happen?

Now to be fair England has had a role in spreading the song worldwide. Their role in forcing Scots abroad during the Clearances that occurred mainly between 1750 and 1860 also coincided with Burns being born in 1759. As he grew to maturity and lived his life until his death in Dumfries in 1796 his poetry was already popular. A popularity that only increased after his death. Likewise the British Empire was expanding rapidly and by the early 20th century ruled over 23% of the World’s population. They could proudly boast that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” as the possessions were so geographically diverse no matter the time of day the sun would be shining somewhere on the 24% of the entire land mass of the World that Britain controlled.

The Scots have always been a sociable race and thanks to the Scottish education system of the time, which ensured Scotland had a higher proportion of people who could read and write, this served our emigrants well and led to many of them securing positions of influence and authority in the countries they immigrated to. Likewise that ability to count, to write and record, also made them key employees in the ever growing empire. An empire expansion that often involved military power, another area where Scots soldiers played a significant role.

Scots introduced Burns to many nationalities. In Japan for instance the tune is used in graduation ceremonies in Universities and some shops use it when closing each day. Bell used the tune to demonstrate his telephone invention and the words were used on the ticker tape notice in Times Square in New York in 1929. Burns societies were established across the World and remain active to this day. An event that definitely internationalised Burns was the first World Boy Scouts Jamboree in 1920 which ended with all participants singing Auld Lang Syne. This led to multiple versions of the song being printed in many languages across the World.

The BBC even attempted to introduce the Union into their article and I quote “ A newspaper report of an Ayrshire lodge’s Burns Supper in 1879 describes Auld Lang Syne being sung as members formed “the circle of unity” – a Masonic ritual also called the “chain of union”.

It must mystify the English why Burns Songs and poetry, all written in a language which they have spent centuries trying to suppress grows and maintains its appeal rather than “Roll out the barrel” or “Jerusalem”

I would suggest it is the sentiments expressed in his work. His appeal for us all to be brothers ( and sisters) in friendship. The complete absence of value because of greed or money being valid. His  ability to bring down those in eminent positions calling for their worth to be measured by their kindness and humility rather than power and position.

So I have some news for our shellshocked oppressors in England. Your power is diminishing by the day, virtually all your colonial possessions have ebbed away as country after country has secured their Independence. None of them are coming back. I fully understand the quandary of why a poet from one of your last colonial possessions, writing in a language you have been trying to kill for centuries has this worldwide appeal despite your best efforts.

Let me conclude by reminding you of this. January 1st may have been an annoyance but come the 25th January every year, the World celebrates Burns Night.

To use one of the Empire’s favourite phrases “ there is never a time on the 25th January each year where the sun is not shining on a land where the Bard’s life and work is not being celebrated at a Supper in his honour”. The Empire may be gone but the admiration of peoples across the World and the friendship and warmth that they feel for the Bard and his homeland is always present. The Freemasons are welcome to join in but BURNS was established across the world by many forces, particularly working class people who valued the principles of international friendship and decency his works espoused.

It is those principles that the World celebrate and I am one proud Scotsman that those same principles and values still exist and are still celebrated in Scotland today.

Ladies and Gentleman I give you a toast. To Rabbie Burns our National Bard whose works honour our nation.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.


Sadly some sites had given up on being pro Indy sites and have decided to become merely pro SNP sites where any criticism of the Party Leader or opposition to the latest policy extremes, results in censorship being applied. This, in the rather over optimistic belief that this will suppress public discussion on such topics. My regular readers have expertly worked out that by regularly sharing articles on this site defeats that censorship and makes it all rather pointless. I really do appreciate such support and free speech in Scotland is remaining unaffected by their juvenile censorship. Indeed it is has become a symptom of weakness and guilt. Quite encouraging really.


    1. Talking about freemasonry: Burns was a prominent freemason and he travelled round Scotland visiting various masonic lodges. There have been many prominent people throughout the world who were members of this organization including George Washington and former Chilean president, Salvador Allende, but the first lodges were based in Scotland.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It’s just jealousy.

    After all a country that has to adopt an old US Southern negro spiritual as its supporters melody of choice to support their national side in rugby union matches shows the paucity of imagination and inspiration inherent in the bulk of those that inhabit that green unpleasant land.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. Assuming you are referring to it, the Corries’ “Flower of Scotland” actually references a time when Scottish folk had some pride in their traditions and culture and had the courage of their convictions in wanting to protect these.

        It’s a history lesson, something that you seem to be sorely in need of.

        Liked by 6 people

    1. And yet they gave us, to mention a few: The Beatles. Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Elton John, Eric Clapton ….to mention a few (and that’s just my generation). The British invasion, which captivated the US and so much of the world, was really, if we’re to be honest, The English invasion. As proud Scot, I take off my hat to those English who made such a valuable contribution to my musical/cultural upbringing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m no authority on Scottish history, but ‘just for balance’, you surely can’t lay *all* the blame for the Scots’ emigration due to the Clearances at England’s door?
    My tentative understanding, having ‘read a book’, is that some of the Scottish landowners themselves (albeit allegedly corrupted by their lives south of the border), were some of the very worst offenders, and their factors and agents were the cruellest in their evictions.
    What do *i* know? I’m only a Welshman.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are correct, these Lairds were often Scots of the “bought and sold type” evicting their tenants using the Factor of their estates to carry out these despicable deeds. The most notorious Factor was Patrick Sellar who acted for the Sutherland Estate.

      What might the Scottish Highlands have been like today if the clearances had not occurred – visit the Pyrenees.

      Liked by 16 people

    2. Armed with your “tentative understanding”, is there really anything else left to understand about the underlying causes of the forced migration of so many people from their native land? “Tentative” is, therefore, redundant. No? A happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Forgive me. I dip my toe in these waters only very infrequently, so I don’t know you or your views. I therefore can’t deduce any nuances or subtleties which your comment contains or implies, or ‘where you’re coming from’.
        I do, however, detect a hint of passive aggression. I do hope I’m wrong. I’ve no dog in this fight, merely an interested onlooker.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Yes, some balance is required on the matter of ‘Scottish landowners’, for example, many were/are not Scottish:

      “Duke of Sutherland is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom which was created by William IV in 1833 for George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford. A series of marriages to heiresses by members of the Leveson-Gower family made the Dukes of Sutherland one of the richest landowning families in the United Kingdom.”

      In addition, according to Prof Devine the Scottish aristocracy rapidly became Anglicised after the 1603 Union of the Crowns, casting off their ‘inferior’ Scots language and traditions such that, by 1707, they probably thought they were English when handed the bribes that aye still enslaves us Scots.

      There were also Westminster laws brought in to confiscate the lands of many Jacobite/independence sympathisers, in addition to re-settlement laws to ‘banish the natives’, usually to other British colonies, and subsequent financial incentives employed up to the 1970s to remove native Scots.

      Thar’s naethin wrang wi readin mair aboot the colonial doun-hauden (oppression) o Scots fowk, thon micht dae ye guid, tae gie fowk some ‘balance’, ye ken:

      Liked by 16 people

      1. >>many were/are not Scottish

        Were they ever? William the Lion was described as counting himself French ‘in race, manner, language and culture’, and that was back in 11-oatcake. His predecessors and successors granted land to French, Flemish, and Anglo-Norman knights all over Scotland.

        The last proper Scottish landowner seems to be Michael Forbes, who refused to sell his land at Balmedie to Trump, saying he could ‘take his money and shove it up his arse.’ It’s a tragedy there are so many dukes and billionaires and businesses and charities owning land in Scotland, and so few salmon fishermen and quarry workers.

        Liked by 9 people

    4. It’s true, Scottish landowners did indeed get rid of crofters to make way for sheep, but that was as part of a union that destroyed the original highland way of life. They were the same landowners that sold Scotland down the river for their own profit, you know the ones Burns called a parcel of rogues.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. They turned their coats against us and disposed of their native language and culture well before the Scots speaking lowland elite. There were some exceptions. Those that stand outside their group and say no I do not identify with this class are well worth a shout. Stating that they identify with the common folk and their history and languages because they are the languages and theirs is the history of my own country are exceptional folk.

        There are examples of this today in Scotland. English folk supporting Independence, Scottish financiers genuinely supporting Independence, people high up in financial circles opposing corruption and neoliberalism, Tories supporting Independence etc etc. It is important to recognise this as well.

        The SNP leadership are intent on destroying the SNP as a vehicle for Independence That is clear now. They are crushing the Indy movement, and vilifying genuine indy voices who might be a threat to their fancy lifestyles and money. This in my humble opinion should not push us in a direction that stops us from taking genuine people at face value from whichever walk of life they come from.

        Liked by 15 people

  3. Wouldn’t it be something if the BBC expended the same effort reporting the horrors and history of the British empire. No I don’t mean showing bloody Zulu every new year.
    Maybe we could be at the cenotaph remembering the atrocities in Kenya, Amritsar, the boers..

    Liked by 11 people

  4. As for the connections to Freemasonry, wasn’t the first Burns Supper held by his Lodge and didn’t they support him and get his work promoted after his death?
    And if BBC thinks it’s reducing Auld Lang Syne by making a connection to Freemasonry it’s on the wrong track as it was well established in Scotland well before anything in England and Scottish Rite Freemasonry is I believe the oldest anywhere.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Mozart was a contemporary of Burns and was also a Freemason, as were some of his friends. Mozart, like Burns, was probably drawn to the rationalist side of 18th century Freemasonry, rather than the mysticism and occultism. The rationalist Freemasons of their time were inspired by the humanist ideas of philosophers like Rousseau and Diderot. The BBC might well seem to be slyly imputing to Auld Lang Syne a connection to the modern day establishment-dominated Freemasons while it is clear that the song is infused by the very ideals of the Enlightenment, of humanism and brotherhood and the irrelevance of rank to the nobility of spirit. It is similar to a favourite Unionist trope I encountered during the 2014 campaign, that Burns was actually a supporter of the Union and couldn’t be claimed by the independence movement.

      Liked by 10 people

  5. Isn’t ironic that Scots unionist who fawn over the English language find themselves singing Auld Lang Syne, and again on Rabbie Burns night the Scots language is rolled out to be used, but the rest of the year round the same folk slight our languages or call them dead languages.

    Our colonial master, England, has tried to stamp out our native languages, youngsters via House Jock school teachers once beat it out of the children, lairds in the Highlands were forced to send their sons to Glasgow to learn English over their own native languages.

    We must not loose our native languages, if we do we will loose part of ourselves, we must embrace them and teach them to our children, ideally I’d like them to be our first languages and English a second language.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Have to say, Republic, that if you don’t know the difference between “loose” and “lose”, then you are already showing signs of English being your second language. So in a way, something for you to celebrate.

      I can still (just) remember when Scottish education was widely acknowledged as being the best in the world. It could well be that all the Indy movement has to do in order to sweep all before it is come up with a credible plan to re-instate Scottish education to its former pre-eminence.

      Then again, maybes a well-educated Scottish electorate would have no interest whatsoever in forever banging on about the Highland Clearances, the Boer War, the Amritsar massacre, or the 45.


      1. “I can still (just) remember when Scottish education was widely acknowledged as being the best in the world.”

        A naitional schuil system whit disnae lairn its bairns thay’re ain mither tung, the langage o Burns himsel, isnae wirth a daw. Thon’s nae ‘warld cless’, thon’s a colonial legacy.

        Liked by 10 people

      2. As Rab C wad say “A’ll gie ye a pronoun”, and pronouns aplenty in the Scots tongue:

        First Person: ‘This table claith is no oors at aw

        Second Person: ‘Whit ails ye’

        Third Person: ‘Hir an her faither wul be ower this efternuin’

        Demonstrative Pronoun: ‘A lyke aipils but thae is no verra guid’

        etc etc etc

        Liked by 7 people

      3. @Bi Focal Hero

        An example of a country wherein the “well educated” are taught to “have no interest whatsoever” in their national history, would be helpful.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a good, old SNP joke from the days when they desperately wanted independence. Doubtful whether they’d appreciate the statement now-a-days! But well worth repeating I’d say. Thanks, davidbsb.

      Liked by 8 people

  6. I began reading “Traivells wi a Cuddie i the Cevennes” and although I’d read “Travels with a Donkey” many years ago, I’m ashamed to admit I had to have my Concise Scots Dictionary at my side. Having only heard Gaelic and English to the age of four then Edindurgh Scots to the age of nine my knowledge of the Scots Language is poor. Surely it’s possible to teach both Gaelic and Scots in schools. In the days of yore we were taught Latin, French German……and English!

    Liked by 7 people

  7. @blabheinn

    No reason to be irked, my Welsh friend. Given what we know, or should know, about English imperial history throughout the world, over centuries, Scots certainly can lay all the blame for the Clearances and so forth, at England’s door. There’s simply no objective “balance” to be had in the matter. Why you, as a Welshman, effectively a colonized subject in the eyes of the world, might look for balance regarding England, the most infamous and most murderous, of all the world’s colonizers, is quite beyond me.

    Liked by 7 people

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: