Don’t lose that festive cheer now that the Christmas and New Year celebrations have ended for it’s almost January 25th and that means another celebration feast, Burns Supper!
Burns night (or Rabbie Burns Day as it is also known) is a celebration of the life and poetry works of the famous poet, Robert Burns. The traditional evening begins with an introduction and the Selkirk Grace (a prayer attributed to Burns) is spoken and everyone sits down to a starter of soup, often a Scots Broth or Cock-a-Leekie. This is followed by the haggis being brought in to the centre of the table, accompanied by a piper. The host will begin to read from Burns'”Address to a Haggis” and in a theatrical manner stab the haggis and slice it open from one end to the other.
Once toasts have been made, you will be served your mashed potatoes, turnip and haggis, better known as ‘Haggis, Neeps and Tatties’. This traditional Scottish meal can be delivered with a bit of a modern and elegant twist but the main ingredients remain.
Once the meal is served, you may find yourself amidst many recitals of his lyrics and poems with a Scots dram in hand and some ceilidh dancing.
‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot’? I am sure you are familiar with some of his most famous pieces, Auld Lang Syne. This can be heard to conclude the night of celebrations, everyone stands together, joining hands and sings the song in harmony. This can also be heard being sand by millions across the world when the clock strikes 12am on New Year’s Day (it has even been translated into many, many languages). A few other memorable pieces are the A Man’sa Man for A’ That, Ae Fond Kiss and To a Mouse?
It’s incredible to see how this Scottish man’s way with words has captivated the entire world, bringing people together, time and time again.
Robert Burns was born in 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire where you can go and visit his childhood home, the ‘Robert Burns Birthplace museum’, Brig o’Doon (the setting of his poem ‘Tam o’Shanter’) and Alloway’s Auld Kirk or even the Burns Monument in Kilmarnock. Once Robert Burns left Alloway, he moved to Dumfries where you can visit his home and see where he sat writing some of his most famous pieces.
He was the oldest of seven siblings and had twelve children himself from four different partners until his death at only 37 years’ old, to rheumatic heart disease. He grew up in a poor family and struggled his way through life with ongoing money issues but it never dampened his ability to write powerful words and didn’t actually find his fame until he was 27 years old.