Burns Night is celebrated in Scotland – and globally – around January 25 to commemorate the life of the poet Robert Burns, who was born that day in 1759. Here’s how best to celebrate it
A traditional Burns Night supper celebrates the poet and lyricist’s contribution to Scottish culture and features a host of traditions, which are all usually rounded off with a rendition of Burns’ most famous work, Auld Lang Syne.
The Burns Night supper is an institution of Scottish life and can range from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner with many traditional elements. Piping in the guests, the saying of The Selkirk Grace, piping in the haggis, address to the haggis and the toast to the haggis can all take place before the meal itself.
It’s usual to wash down the Burns Night supper of cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps and tatties, clootie cumpling or typsy laird and a cheese board with lashing of wines and, of course, whisky.
The evening’s festivities are punctuated with readings and performances of Burns’ poems and songs, along with traditions such as The Immortal Memory – a passionate speech on the life of Robert Burns, which concludes with the line: “To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns!” – the toast to the lassies, the reply to the toast to the lassies. And, of course, there is the, possibly slightly squiffy, singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Burns Night is an insight into Scottish culture, as well as being one of the most raucous national celebrations. And, with celebrations up and down the country, there’s no excuse not to get a taste of the traditions.