The Charmed Links of China and Scotland

For the first time in 76 years, Burns Night and the Chinese New Year (春节—chūn jié) fall on the same date - January 25th.

This year marks the Year of the Rat which Chinese tradition symbolises as an animal of great importance; an animal with spirit, sociability, vitality and wit. Much could be said of Robert Burns – a poet with a tremendous sense of adventure, known for his spontaneity, intensity and life.

The synergy of dates further strengthens the ever-growing connections between Scotland and China. Whilst we are intrinsically linked via an ever-growing diaspora population, we also nurture an ongoing relationship between our partnered cities, share a special love for two certain black and white celebrities at Edinburgh Zoo, hold a passion for tradition and boast a reputation for world-class craftsmanship.

Such tradition and craftsmanship are at the very core of Hamilton & Inches ethos. To celebrate the special relationship with our Chinese locals and visitors, we have created twelve special charms which will be launched in time for Chinese New Year.

Each charm was skilfully handcrafted in our workshops above the showroom on George Street to represent the animals from the Chinese Zodiac. Each charm has been carefully designed, cleaned and finished to perfection by our expert craftspeople.

The exclusive "Year of the Rat" Charm created by Hamilton & Inches

The star attraction of the collection is the rat, which according to Chinese traditionalists is one of the most important of all zodiac animals. Robert Burns certainly held rodents in high admiration, dedicating one of his best-known works to one:

“Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle!”

This year, the link between Burns and the Chinese New Year will be celebrated in style via a comprehensive range of events organised by the Edinburgh Tourist Action Group. Burns & Beyond will enjoy a feast of blended Scottish and Chinese culture and traditions over nineteen days.

What would Robert have made of his special day being celebrated in such a way? Sharing traditions, embracing different cultures and enjoying a good party were close to Burns’ heart. Had he been around, he would have been at the heart of the action. The team at Hamilton & Inches will celebrate in their own way to mark both events.

The Year of the Rat charm is available to buy as a standalone piece or complete with a chain to be worn as a pendant. It can be bought online or in store now.