• Ayrshire Daily News

When is Burns Night 2017 and who is Robert Burns? All you need to know about how to celebrate the an


Most of us have probably celebrated it at some point by having a ‘wee dram’ of whisky or tentatively tucking into some Haggis.


But the origins behind Burns Night actually go back to the poetry of Scottish bard Robert Burns.

His birth will be celebrated across the country with food, drink, speeches and of course renditions of Auld Lang Syne .

When is Burns Night?

There’s not long to wait if you’re itching to dig out your tartan Tam O’Shanter, See You Jimmy hat and recite some poetry as Burns Night is on Wednesday, January 25.

It falls on the same date each year with January 25 being significant as it was the day Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns was born.

His most popular work is arguably Auld Lang Syne, which is sung at New Year's Eve celebrations in Scotland, parts of the United Kingdom, and other places around the world every time the clock strikes midnight.

What is Burns Night?

As its name suggests, the evening is a celebration of all things 'Rabbie Burns.'

Most people choose to mark it with a Burns Supper which will include some hearty cuisine and speeches.

The feast will typically include haggis, a type of sausage prepared in a sheep’s stomach that is minced with onion, oatmeal, suet (raw beef or lamb fat), spices, and salt, mixed with stock.

Those celebrating also have mashed neeps and tatties which are turnips, swedes and potatoes.

And of course as an accompaniment to the meal, Scotch whiskey is the ideal drink.

For dessert many people will delve into the traditional Scottish cook book and serve up cranachan (a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal) or Tipsy Laird (whisky trifle) followed by oatcakes and cheese.

Traditional and formal Scottish celebrations will also often see the meal presented with bagpipes playing in the background.

Why are there speeches?

They are something that have become synonymous with Burns Night festivities, the Chronicle reveals .

The evening traditionally begins with The Selkirk Grace- a well-known thanksgiving said before meals, using the Scots language.

In more formal settings or where a piper or a set of bagpipes is at hand, the haggis is then brought in on a big plate to a soundtrack of pipes.

A tribute is then paid to the famous Scottish dish with the ‘Address to the Haggis’ and ‘Toast to the Haggis’ before guests tuck into their food.

If you’re going all out with your Burns Night celebrations the speeches don’t end there. The Immortal Memory (a short speech, remembering some aspect of Burns’ life or poetry) should be given next followed by a Toast to the Lassies (a light-hearted view on women given by a male guest) and then the Reply to the Laddies (the ladies’ chance to respond!) and the singing of Burns songs or reading of his poems.

Finally the host will call on one of the guests to give the vote of thanks, after which everyone is asked to stand, join hands, and sing Auld Lang Syne bringing the evening to an end.

When and why did Burns Night start?

Burns Night started shortly after the poet’s death, when his friends celebrated his life and career in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the late 1700s on the date of his death, July 21.

The date was later changed to the day of his birth, and now those in Scotland, and some areas within the UK and parts of the world, also mark Burns Night.


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  • Ayrshire Daily News
  • Ayrshire Daily News