Jan 25th marks Robert Burns Day & Haggis for Scots

Robert Burns StatueEvery year, January 25th celebrates the birthday of Scottish poet and beloved bard of the Scots, Robert Burns.

Burns was born in 1759 and died in 1796. His nicknames include: Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Plougman poet, the Bard of Ayrshire, and “The Bard.” He is known as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide by Scottish communities in every corner of the world – surprisingly, even more so than Scotland’s national day.

Many of his works feature references to Scottish culture and foods, and are written in Scots. In fact, he is the writer of Auld Lang Syne – the song often sung at New Years all over the world.

A Burns Supper or Burns Night

Every year on January 25th, to honour Scotland’s national poet, festivities and a “Burns Supper” and a “Burns Night” is conducted in his honour. You too, can join in the festivities by donning on a kilt and readying yourself for toast after toast. Here is what a Burns Night looks like:

  • A Chairman or Masters of Ceremonies is responsible for conducting the evening and should begin with the “Selkirk Grace” – a meal time prayer written by Burns that goes like this:

Some have meat and cannot eat
Some cannot eat that want it
But we have meat and we can eat
Sae let the Lord be thankit

  • After grace has been said, the Haggis will be brought in by the chef and the Chairman will give Burns’ “Address to Haggis” – here is a short verse:

Is there anyone who after eating French ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a sow,
Or fricasse that would make her throw up
With absolute disgust,
Looks down with sneering, scornful attitude,
On such a dinner? (as Haggis)

  • Haggis with Haggis is usually served with “champit tatties and bashed neeps” or mashed potatoes and turnips – for more on haggis, read our “All About Haggis” article.
  • For dessert, traditional Scottish dessert dishes like Caledonian Cream, Cranachan, Edinburgh Fog and Scotch Trifle are served
  • Speeches and toasts are given and should be addressed to “The Immortal Memory of Rabbie Burns” and to “The Lassies”
  • Entertainment includes musicians playing fiddles, traditional drums, and flutes, as well as other participants reciting Burns’ poems
  • The final song should be “Auld Lang Syne” and a large hot pot of soup served in cups should be served before guests leave into the cold weather

From us at to you – have a safe and fun Robert Burns Day!

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