Burns Night is a regular date in the Scottish calendar and falls on January 25th every year. It commemorates and celebrates the life and works of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns.
Celebrations amongst family and friends are conducted during a Burns Supper which includes a number of traditions such as piping in the guests, the Selkirk Grace and piping in the haggis.
What to eat at the Burns Night Supper.
There are a number of traditional Scottish Dishes served at a Burns Supper.
The meal starts with a soup. This could be Scotch broth, Cock-a-leekie soup or cullen skink.
The main course features haggis which is produced with much ceremony. This is usually accompanied by mashed neeps (turnips) and mashed tatties (potatoes).
This is followed by dessert such as Clootie Dumpling (a pudding prepared in a linen cloth/cloot), Cranachan or Typsy Laird (a Scottish sherry trifle).
Dinner ends with cheese and bannocks (oat cakes).
The whole meal is accompanied with regular tots of uisge beatha (Scotch whiskey).
Burns Supper Traditions
A traditional Burns Supper includes the following traditions:
Piping in the Guests
The Chairman’s welcome
The Selkirk Grace
Starter course of the Burns Dinner
Piping in the haggis
Address the haggis
Toast to the haggis
The main Burns Dinner
The immortal memory
Toast to the Lassies
Reply to the toast of the Lassies
Performance of Robert Burns’ songs and poems
Vote of thanks
Auld Lang Syne
The Selkirk Grace
When everyone is seated for dinner The Selkirk Grace is said to usher in the meal. Guests recite the following in Scots.
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.
The Toast to the Lassies
One of the more humorous highlights of Burns Night is the Toast to the Lassies. A toast that praises women of the world using quotations from Burn’s work. Particular mention to women present is traditional within this Toast.
The toast concludes “to the Lassies”.
The Reply to the Toast to the Lassies provides opportunity for the women present to get their revenge within a lighthearted and witty response.