Did you know….?
Burns Night is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns, born on 25th January 1759 in the village of Alloway, near Ayr. He wrote hundreds of works including poems, letters and songs including well-known Auld Lang Syne which is hugely popular in China where it is known as You Yi Di Jiu Tian Chang or Friendship Forever and Ever.
As William Shakespeare is England’s national bard so Robert Burns is Scotland’s. In 2009, he was named the greatest Scot of all time, in a vote on Scottish TV station STV, beating William Wallace.
The night is a celebration of Scottish culture, something Burns was incredibly passionate about, so to ensure you keep with traditions, there are certain items of food and drink that are an absolute must. Burns night wouldn’t be Burns night without traditional haggis being served with tatties and neeps and of course, all washed down with a few drams of Scottish whisky. (The haggis is not to everyone’s liking though. Did you know that Scottish haggis was banned in the US in 1971 when the Department of Agriculture took a dim view of one of its key ingredients – sheep’s lung!)
In more formal settings or where a piper or a set of bagpipes is at hand, the haggis will be brought in on a big plate to a soundtrack of pipes and ‘The Chair’ recites Burns’ most famous poem, ‘Address to a Haggis’ and ‘Toast to the Haggis’ before guests tuck into their food.
Once everyone is well fed, entertained and possibly well-oiled, the night ends with everyone joining together to sing Auld Lang Syne.
And if you can’t think what to do with your leftovers, don’t worry, on the day after Burns Night festivities, people are invited to throw haggis at the Alloway 1759 Festival’s Haggis Hurling Championship!