Highland Titles

What Do You Know About Scotland's Most Beloved Tradition?

Email sent: Jan 20, 2016 5:02 am

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Highland Titles

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!

Still following?

Well done if you know what we're talking about! For those who don't know, we're talking about the world famous Scottish tradition that is Burns Supper. The day is also often referred to as Burns Night or Robert Burns Day. Each year the event takes place on the 25th of January and celebrates the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.

History of the Burns Supper

The tradition of holding a Burns Supper began in 1801, five years after Robert Burn's death. The first supper was hosted at Burns Cottage by a group of Robert Burns' friends on what would have been his 42nd birthday. Following this a 'Burns Club' was founded and Burns Suppers were held each year.

At the start, the suppers were held on the 29th of January, as this is what they thought to be Burns' birthday. They were informed in 1803 that his birthday was in fact the 25th of January and therefore amended the day of their annual celebration.

What happens at a Burns Supper?

Some Burns Suppers are more traditional than other and some are more formal than others. It doesn't really matter as long as you celebrate by sharing some of Robert Burns' famous poems. A typical Burns Supper plays out as follows:

Piping in the guests
A Scottish piper will traditionally welcome the guests by piping them in. 

The host makes a welcome speech 
The host welcomes the guests and explains what the celebrations are for. Guests then usually recite the Selkirk Grace. Following this a starter of Scotch Broth or Cock-a-Leekie is served. Find recipes for both here.

Piping in and addressing the haggis
Everyone is asked to stand and a haggis is brought out on a large serving dish while a bagpiper pipes in the haggis. At this stage the haggis is addressed, where the host recites Robert Burns' most famous poem, Address to a Haggis.

Following the address, the haggis is toasted with a dram of Scotch whisky before guests are again seated. A traditional main course of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties (haggis, swede or turnip and potatoes) is served to guests. Check out our Burns Night recipes here for inspiration. For dessert, Scottish cheese or Cranachan is usually served. 

The evening is traditionally closed with a few readings of the host's favourite Robert Burns works. Following this guests will often stand, join hands and sing Auld Land Syne together before heading to bed, merry and full of hearty Scottish food!

Now that you know everything you need to know about this wonderful Scottish tradition, will you be celebrating Burns Night? We'd love for you to share your Burns Supper photos with us, you can do so by posting them on our Facebook page. Gie her a haggis!

Warm Regards,
Highland Titles

get ready for burns night!

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