When is Burns Night?

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.

Main Course

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).

Cheese Course

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.