Burns Night takes place every January 25th, celebrating the life of the Romantic poet and lyricist Robert Burns (or Rabbie Burns), Scotland’s national poet. Born in Ayrshire in 1759 Burns most famous work is probably ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the New Year Eve standard song.
Burns Night is celebrated on Burns’ birthday, and its’ focal point is the Burns Supper, first held in 1802 and still celebrated around the world today, with little changing in the way it takes place- starting with a general welcome and announcements, followed by the Selkirk Grace, before the ‘piping in of the haggis’.
The format of Burns suppers has changed little over the years- a general welcome, followed by the reading of the Selkirk Grace:
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.
And then the piping and cutting of the haggis, along with the Address
After the grace comes the piping and cutting of the haggis, when Burns’s famous “Address to a Haggis” is read and the haggis is cut open. The event usually allows for people to start eating just after the haggis is presented.
At the end of the meal, there will be a series of toasts and replies, usually concluded with a singing of Auld Lang Syne.
In 2009 Scottish Television voted Burns the greatest Scotsman of all time.
I was recently at a conference in London and came across the Robert Burns statue so thought I’d take a quick snap.