Not just a celebration of the life and work of the ‘Scottish Bard’, Burns Night (25 January) is a great opportunity for a get-together to celebrate Scotland, eat some lovely food and enjoy a ‘wee dram’ or two.
Whether formal or informal, a Burns Night celebration will normally involve raising a glass of whisky, a recital of Robert Burns’ poetry and a feast of haggis.
Here’s how to host the ultimate (informal!) Burns Night celebration:
Gathering the Guests
Traditionally, guests are piped in by a live bagpipe player, but a quick Spotify search should help you find yours!
The guests gather and the host says a few words of welcome before reciting Burns’ 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.
Starters are served – traditionally a bowl of cock-a-leekie soup – before the haggis is piped in. Burns’ Address to a Haggis is then recited before everyone toasts the ‘Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race’.
Traditionally accompanied by mashed potatoes (tatties) and swede (neeps), the main meal is often followed by dessert and/or a cheeseboard with oatcakes followed by coffee.
The first post-dinner entertainment is often a sung or spoken recital of Burns’ work. The second, named the Immortal Memory, should explore Burns’ work in a lighthearted or serious way.
Address to the Lassies, Reply to the Laddies
A humorous highlight, this toast is traditionally made to praise the ladies, with a female guest then replying with a speech about the assembled menfolk.
Plenty of talking, singing and drinking follow before the grand finale!
Thanks & Auld Lang Syne
The host thanks the participants before inviting guests to their feet for a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, crossing arms and joining hands at the line: And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
Keep your guests entertained with games, a quiz or a contest. Being engaged, having fun and paying tribute to the Scotland and its Bard is what Burns Night is all about!
Find holiday homes in Scotland with cottages.com.