Bring out the whisky, tartan and haggis - it’s Robert Burns Night (also called Robbie Burns or Burns Night).
Today, Scottish people - and many Scottish enthusiasts and revellers around the world - will celebrate the birth of the great poet and lyricist known as “Scotland’s favourite son.”
And the etiquette for the evening?
Apart from whisky and haggis, Burns Night festivities can be as formal or informal as you like. The key is to drink, eat and be merry with friends and family. Robert Burns is considered by many as Scotland’s greatest national poet — both his songs and poems are celebrated far and wide. It is said that Burns Night is the most widely celebrated National Day in Scotland.
Traditional Burns Night festivities include:
- a welcome from the host/ess or grace
- the piping of the haggis, when the “pudden” is ceremoniously brought in the dining room
- reading of Address to a Haggis, written by Burns - the haggis is then cut open with a knife. Diners then tuck into the haggis and traditional trimmings (continues below)
- singing and clearing of the meal, followed by the Immortal Memory address, which is a tribute of Burns’ readings and works
- a toast to the lassies, and a suitable response - both lighthearted and somewhat saucy, all in good fun
- more toasts and speeches and readings of Burns’ works
- the evening is not complete without a ceilidh and auld lang syne - traditional Scottish dance and song
A merry Burns Night to you and yours! In the words of Burns final lyrics from Auld Lang Syne (which many people traditionally associate with ringing in of the New Year):
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! (And there is a hand, my trusty friend!)
And gie’s a hand o’ thine! (And give me a hand of yours!)
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught, (And we will take a right good-will drink,)
For auld lang syne. (For old long past.)
“Piping in of the Haggis” Photo (1958): source
Portrait of Robert Burns: source