Burns Night is a significant date in any Scots’ calendar. On the 25th January, Scotland (and many other parts of the UK) celebrate the life and work of the poet Robert Burns, who is viewed as Scotland’s national poet, just as Shakespeare is England’s immortal bard.
Burns wrote famous poems and songs such as Auld Lang Syne (sang merrily at New Year), To A Mouse, A Red, Red Rose and many more. Even if you don’t know Burns’ poems off by heart, Burns Night is the perfect excuse for a get together with friends or family, so grab yourself a copy of Burns’ poetry and have a great night!
What is Burns Supper?
The first supper was held in 1801 at Burns’ Cottage in Alloway, South Ayrshire, on the fifth anniversary of his death by his friends. Burns supper traditionally includes haggis, whisky and a healthy dose of Burns’ influential poetry. At formal occasions, guests are greeted as they enter by a piper. At more informal events, Scottish music is played as guests arrive.
At formal Burns Night events, there will be a ‘standard order’; this is a series of events that involve poetry, serving food, and remembering the poet himself. The host will give a welcome speech to guests, and all the guests will say the Selkirk Grace to give thanks for the meal that they are about to eat. The Selkirk Grace uses words from the Scots language:
Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
The supper starts with a soup course and traditional Scottish broths are served, such as cock-a-leekie, potato soup, Cullen skink, or Scotch broth. As the traditional main course of haggis is brought in, guests will stand as the bagpipes are played. The host, or a willing guest, then recites the Address to a Haggis and cuts it open ready to serve. After dinner, speeches and toasts to remember Burns’ life are given. When the event is coming to an end, all guests will stand and sing Auld Lang Syne to mark that the evening has come to an end.
Burns Night is typically celebrated in a more informal fashion in the present day. It is celebrated not just in Scotland, but all over the UK. Who doesn’t love an excuse to have a party? Restaurants have taken to hosting Burns Nights, where the traditional dish of haggis, neeps and tatties will be served, as well as a wide variety of exciting cocktails and, of course, some drams of whisky.
Why not celebrate Burns Night in style in a Scottish castle? The historic Glamis Castle, the home of the late Queen Mother, holds a Burns Night to remember which is set in the incredible Victorian Dining Room, complete with a traditional Burns Night three-course dinner and drinks. If this event sounds like your cup of tea, the Garden Apartment at Reswallie House is the perfect base for your Scottish adventure, as it is only 8 miles from the castle.
No matter where you are in the world, everybody can enjoy Burns Night celebrations. If you’re planning on celebrating in style in the poets’ birth country, Unique Cottages is here to help you find the perfect location. Visit our website to find out more or get in touch with our friendly Booking Team on 01835 822277.