January 25th marks the celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns
Born in Ayrshire in 1759, Robert Burns’ work has inspired generation after generation. On January 25th Scots all around the world come together on the anniversary of his birth to honour his memory and celebrate his work.
A traditional Burns night consists of a Burns Supper, Scottish Whisky and Tartan.
Burns night usually begins with everyone dressed in their finest Tartan gathering together around the table to start the Burns Supper proceedings.
A prayer known as The Selkirk Grace is usually recited by the host as the soup course is served.
The Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
The main course of a Burns Supper is the iconic Scottish dish commonly referred to as Haggis, Neeps and Tatties.
Haggis or what Robert Burns referred to as ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’ is a mix of lamb, beef, oats, onions and spices. Neeps are a root vegetable more commonly known as a Turnip or Swede and Tatties are quite simply potatoes – usually served mashed with a Burns supper.
Written by Robert Burns to celebrate his appreciation of the Haggis, Address to the Haggis is usually recited as the Haggis is brought to the table on a silver salver.
Address to the Haggis
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis
After the meal has finished, guests usually gather away from the table, enjoys a dram and continue to celebrate the life of Robert Burns by singing songs, reciting poems and raising a toast to The Immortal Memory.