Make A Burns Night To Remember: Your Guide To The Perfect Celebration
Whether you’re Scottish or not, celebrating Burns Night can be a whole heap of fun if you’re looking for a worthy excuse to get friends and family together in January… as long as everyone’s up for a little poetry, haggis and whisky of course!
Who Was Robert Burns?
Otherwise known as ‘Rabbie’ Burns, Robert Burns was a Scottish poet widely regarded as the country’s National Poet. Considered a pioneer of the Romantic movement, it is thanks to Robert Burns that we have such fantastic works as ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ ‘A Red, Red Rose,’ and of course, his infamous ‘Address to a Haggis.’
How Do You Celebrate Burns Night?
Traditionally, Burns Night celebrations are large affairs. You may find that a local get-together has been organised somewhere near you if you do your research! If not, then don your kilt and bagpipes, and organise your own, with our help!
The ritual event begins with the guests being welcomed in by the sound of bagpipes. Once everyone has arrived, the host will address them, and The Selkirk Grace – a prayer of thanks commonly attributed to Burns – is joined in by all.
Burns Night Supper
A traditional supper begins with a hearty first course of Scottish broth, or a Cullen Skink (made with onions, potatoes and smoked haddock).
Then in comes the haggis – on a silver platter if you’re doing things by the book! And if you really want to get into the spirit, ensure your guests stand to see it arrive, and it is duly piped in by a piper playing one of Burns’ famous melodies: “A Man’s a Man for a’ That”.
And then for the poetry! A speaker should read aloud Burns’ ‘Address to a Haggis,’ drawing a knife to cut the haggis open as he delivers the line ‘An’ cut you up w’ ready slicht’.
Ensure your guests’ glasses have been filled with a good Scotch whisky, as the cut haggis is then toasted by all.
Once the fanfare is over, it’s time for everyone to tuck into their haggis, alongside another traditional Scottish staple of neeps ‘n’ tatties (turnips and potatoes). This is then followed by a dessert of Cranachan, as well as a fine cheese board… and, of course, more whisky!
A lighthearted end to the evening includes a speech delivered in honour of the great poet. This is followed by a ‘Toast to the Lassies’ – a speech delivered by a male speaker, thanking the women for preparing the food, and adding his own humorous take on the role of women. Quotes from Burns’ works may be used in the toast, but speaker be warned – a female speaker traditionally then stands to offer her response… expect lots of laughs!
At the end of the evening, once everyone is merry, and filled with food and whisky, it’s time to join together and enjoy some of Burns’ most well-known works and songs. A chorus of Burns’ poem “Auld Lang Syne” ends the meal.
Will you be celebrating Burns Night this year? If so, let us know your plans in the comments!