Burns birthday kicks off a year of events
Today is the 250th birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns born in Ayrshire in 1759.
The Scottish Government's Year of Homecoming celebrations begin yesterday at an official Burns Supper attended by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and was held at the Brig O'Doon Hotel, near Burn's birthplace in Alloway, Ayrshire.
Tonight 10,000 people will take to the streets of Dumfries where Burns died for an event titled Burns Light, a lantern procession featuring children from 42 schools.
Over the weekend, and ending tonight Glasgow's City Chambers have been illuminated with the story of Robert Burns projected onto the building in a 15-minute light and sound show.
Also at the city's Royal Concert Hall they will hold a Burns concert.
Edinburgh held a Burns ceilidh at the Assembly Rooms on Friday night and tonight line up of poetry, performers, art and music at the National Museum of Scotland.
Aberdeen held a Burns supper last night.
Scottish mountaineer Chris Dunlop broke his own record of the world's highest Burns supper by having a Burns supper in Ben Nevis. His highest supper before that was on top of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, 2008.
BBC Scotland has launched Burns readings from a host of famous people. Some of the stars who have took part are Prince Charles, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, Scottish actors Brian Cox, Robert Carlyle, Alan Cumming and Robbie Coltrane.
You can find the current readings here with more to follow today and later on this year.
OF MICE, there will be plenty, as well as a flock of sheep, a giant cart-horse, a Spitfire, a bicycle and a copy of Lincluden Abbey.
Carried aloft as home-made lanterns, some requiring several hands, there will be 3,000 of them making their way through the streets of Dumfries and lighting up Robert Burns' house and his burial place on the way down to the town's historic Whitesands.
Of men, there will be even more. Around 10,000 marchers are expected to crowd into the town this evening as the first weekend of Scotland's biggest national party gets into full swing with four "Burns Light" processions that will converge to witness a 15m wooden model of Tam O' Shanter astride his horse be put to the torch on the River Nith.
For Shirley Bell, chief executive of the Robert Burns World Federation, it is yet more proof of Burns' universal appeal. "The numbers are amazing and if Robbie had been around he would have been proud of what was being done in his name," she said. "Burns Light will be truly spectacular. It is an event that has captured people's imaginations both here and abroad and the enthusiasm is just astonishing."
Scotland's year of Homecoming will be an "extraordinary celebration", First Minister Alex Salmond said, as the first events officially got under way.
A weekend of celebration is being held to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, and the start of the Homecoming programme.
It aims to attract expatriates back to Scotland to celebrate the country's culture and heritage.
The Burns weekend marks the start of the year-long programme of events.
Traditional Burns Suppers will be held as far afield as Kazakhstan and Malawi, Moscow and Sydney, but the focal point of this weekend's Scottish festivities will be Alloway in Ayrshire, the village where Burns was born in 1759.