Scotland's favourite traditional songs revealed ahead of Burns Night

Scots across the country will soon be celebrating Robert Burns and Scottish culture as January 25 fast approaches.

Burns Night 2024: Scotland’s favourite Scots language songs revealed ahead of Burns Night Getty Images

The people of Scotland have spoken and revealed their favourite Scots language songs ahead of Burns Night.

Scots across the country are celebrating the works of the Bard as Robert Burns’ birthday – January 25 – fast approaches.

The night usually sees Scots come together to tuck into haggis, neeps and tatties and enjoy traditional songs and poems.

The spirited celebrations often include live traditional Scottish music and readings of Burns’ work to honour Scotland’s rich language and culture.

Burns Supper traditionally consists of haggis, neeps and tatties.

With the big day in mind, VisitScotland surveyed more than 1,000 Scottish adults to discover their memories of learning traditional songs in the Scots language.

The survey found nine in ten Scots (86%) said they have fond memories of learning Scots songs at school, with 91% saying that they could read and listen to Scots songs and understand what most of the words mean.

Meanwhile a further 84% said they can still sing the lyrics of songs they learned.

Resonating with the hearts of over a fifth of Scots (22%), the beloved Canny Shove Yer Grannie was selected as Scotland’s favourite and most memorable Scots song.

Canny Shove Yer Grannie was followed by Donald Where’s Yer Troosers with one in eight Scots selecting it as their favourite.

In third place was Coulters Candy (Ally Bally) with one in ten Scots choosing it as their most beloved tune.

Top ten Scots language songs

Here are the results for favourite Scots language songs including the percentage of surveyed Scots voting for each song:

  1. Canny Shove Yer Grannie – 22%
  2. Donald Where’s Yet Troosers – 12%
  3. Coulters Candy (Ally Bally) – 10%
  4. Wee Willie Winkie – 9%
  5. Skinny Malinky (longlegs, big banana feet) – 7%
  6. Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa’ – 6%
  7. The Jeely Piece Song – 6%
  8. Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl – 4%
  9. Scots Wha Hae – 3%
  10. My Hearts in the Highlands – 2%

Cat Leaver, VisitScotland head of brand and global marketing, said the survey highlighted the “importance” of communities keeping traditions alive.

“Scotland’s rich cultural heritage is a strong draw for visitors and a huge part of what makes us a unique visitor destination,” she said.

“A passionate advocate of the Scots language, the words of Robert Burns have inspired people around the world for generations, with Burns Night an internationally enjoyed celebration of Scottish culture.

“This research demonstrates the lasting impression of the Scots language on people across the country and the importance of communities to keeping these traditions alive.”

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