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Burns Night – The Celebration of the Scottish Poet

Burns Night Supper is a traditional meal held all over the world but particularly in Scotland, to celebrate the life of Robert Burns. It is usually celebrated on the 25th January but dinners are held in the 2 weeks surrounding the date.

Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway, two miles south of Ayr. His parents, Willian Burnes and Agnes Broun, were tenant farmers but they ensured their son received a relatively good education and he began to read avidly. The works of Alexander Pope, Henry Mackenzie and Laurence Sterne fired Burns’s poetic impulse and relationships with the opposite sex provided his inspiration. Handsome Nell, for Nellie Kilpatrick, was his first song.

There are a number of traditions you have to follow when celebrating Burns Night….

  • Piping in the guests – this involves someone playing the Bag Pipes until all the guests are standing around the table.

  • The Selkirk Grace – this is a short prayer said before everyone takes their seats at the table.

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

  • Piping in the Haggis – the Haggis is taken around the room and shown to everyone in turn.  The Bag pipes are also played at this point. During the procession, guests clap in time to the music until the Haggis reaches its destination at the table.
  • Address to the Haggis – a chosen member of the group reads the poem “To a Haggis”. The reader should have his knife poised at the ready. On cue (His knife see Rustic-labour dight), he cuts the casing along its length, making sure to spill out some of the tasty gore within (trenching its gushing entrails).

  • Toast the Haggis – everyone stands and raises a glass of Whisky to the Haggis.
  • The Meal – A 3 course meal is then served up starting with a traditional Scoth Broth. Mains are served which usually include Haggis, Neaps and Taties. A number of dessert options can be chosen but most go for Typsy Laird.
  • The Scottish music and Readings – After a large amount of food and drink has been consumed, a number of Burns’ most famous poems are read out and some Scottish songs are played. Guests are encouraged to join in with the singing.
  • Auld Lang Syne – finally the last song of the night has to be the Scottish Classic Auld Lang Syne…. Think you know the words?! Why not see how our members faired when we put them to the test! Click here for some hilarious results. The full lyrics can be found here.

Here at Banana Crumble we hope everyone who is celebrating has a great Burns Supper!! We certainly enjoyed ourselves celebrating at one of our local restaurants The Pipe of Port.