In 1748, my great-great … great Grandfather left Scotland for northern New Brunswick. Family lore says it was because of sheep stealing, but that soon after the Jacobite rebellion, chances are they were running from the English for more than one reason. Having a bit of Scotland in the family tree gives a great excuse for celebration in the doldrums of January. Robbie Burns Day is January 25.
Robbie Burns wrote about the ordinary things in life —farming, a mouse in the field, love, being poor. He
emphasized that a person needs to be measured by who s/he is, not by what s/he has, the family s/he was
born into or who s/he is married to. Burns became the “peasant’s poet.” His works were quoted often by
Russian peasants as well as the poor in many countries.
We don’t really know if “Bonnie” is a woman or a man!
Maybe Bonnie’s husband has emmigrated to Canada, and she is still in Scotland. Or maybe Bonnie and her
family have emmigrated to Canada, and her boyfriend back in Scotland is missing her. Or maybe the Bonnie is
talking about a prince from Scotland named Charlie. Scotland and England were fighting and Charlie had to
leave Scotland. He was called the “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. Who ever you think Bonnie was, enjoy the song with its traditional actions of standing/sitting every time a “b” is sung. More background information about Robbie Burns, Scotland and bagpipes is found in the pdf for this song.
Now celebrated around the world is another late January – early February holiday, yes —Gung Hay Fat Choy!! Another chance to ring in the New Year with Chinese tradition.