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'Burns Night' how to celebrate like a Scot...


Image from robertburns.org.uk

Every year on 25th January, folks up and down the country celebrate the Scottish tradition of Burns Night. If you’ve ever wondered what it is and how to get involved then we are here to explain how to celebrate like a Scot!

Burns Night celebrates the birth day of Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s National Poets. Often referred to as Rabbie Burns he wrote his first poem at aged 15 and was considered a pioneer of the literary, musical and intellectual 'Romantic Movement' during the 18th Century. One of his most famous writings was Auld Lang Syne which is sung famously all over the world at Midnight on New Year’s Eve. When he died in 1796 his friends celebrated him the following year on his birthday and since then it has become a tradition to always do so on 25th January.

How to celebrate…

The evening is centred around three very important things:

  • A feast consisting of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties (Swedes & Potatoes) followed by dessert which may be Tipsy Laurd (Whisky Trifle) or Cranachan (whipped cream, whisky, honey, raspberries and toasted oatmeal). Sounds divine doesn’t it!
  • A wee dram (or two!) of Whisky 
  • Speeches with Bagpipes often present.

Traditionally, the evening will begin with a thanksgiving poem in the Scottish language called The Selkirk Grace…

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

A tribute is then made called ‘Address the Haggis’ and ‘Toast he Haggis’ before everybody tucks in to their delicious supper!

Following this, a speaker is invited to perform the ‘Immortal Memory’, a formal and personal tribute to Robert Burns. A lighthearted and fun speech is then made by a male attendee called ‘A Toast to the Lassies’ where he will talk of women and their influence upon men whilst associating it with the works of Robert Burns. Any women attending the evening then retaliate with a ‘Reply to the Laddies’ in a similar humorous way!

Burns songs immediately follow in addition to readings of his Poems before a vote of thanks is given and everyone joins hands and sings Auld Lang Syne to close the evening.

So if you needed an excuse to end Dry- January early, dig out your tartan and get in to the spirit of Burns Night like a Scot!


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