HUNDREDS of traditional Burns Suppers, poetry recitals, performances and parties are to be held around the world to celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns.
His poetry and songs will be read in the US, Africa and the Middle East asgroups set up to honour his work meet 257 years on from his birth.
British troops are to celebrate Burns Night in Cyprus, Afghanistan and Iraq, while Foreign Office events are being held in Malawi and Jerusalem.
In Scotland, what has been described as the first Burns Supper in more than two centuries will be held in the poet’s cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire.
Tickets cost around £250 a head as the Burns Birthplace Museum use the event as a fundraiser to help save the monument.
The very first Burns Supper - including haggis, toasts to the poet and recitals of his work - was held by a group of his friends in his Alloway cottage in 1801, five years after his death.
Museum director David Hopes said: “We need £350,000 to restore it and are already making good inroads into that figure.
“But if we fail to raise the money the monument would have to close within 12 months.
“That is why events like this will be so important.”
The annual Big Burns Supper Festival started in Dumfries last week and a carnival was held on Sunday featuring hundreds of dancers, costumed performers, and colourful floats.
Social media users are being asked to share selfies with a Burns-related item such as a statue, painting, book of poems or plate of haggis, neeps and tatties.
The images will be combined to create a huge mosaic picture of Burns and will be shared at www.scotland.org/burns.
Anyone named Robert, Bobby or Rabbie Burns will be able to join in the celebrations in shopping centre Silverburn with restaurant Cosmo offering a free supper to anyone who shares their name with the Bard.
Bosses say the only requirement will be for the individual to provide proof with photographic ID.
A free online course run by the University of Glasgow also begins on Monday, with thousands of people from around the world registered to study Burns.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘’Robert Burns’s words are recognised around the world and his poetry, writing and songs continue to be enjoyed by millions.
‘’Burns Night is a great opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s Bard and to enjoy Scotland’s poetry, music and wider culture.’’
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “More than 250 years after his birth, the work of Robert Burns still has the ability to move, thrill and inspire us.
“I am heartened to see how much his legacy is valued and enjoyed, particularly by young people, who come to his work with fresh eyes and ears.
“Burns’ work tells us a lot about Scotland as a nation - how we see ourselves and how others see us. But his enduring global influence demonstrates that his genius transcends time and place.”