Burns Night 2010

The 25th of January marks Burns Night, celebrated annually in Scotland as well as in other locations throughout the UK.  Burns Night Suppers celebrate the life of Robert Burns, Scottish poet and lyricist, and take place on or around his birthday the 25th of January.  Burns was considered the Scottish national poet and will be recognized by those less familiar with Scottish poetry by his works such as Auld Lang Syne, A Red, Red Rose and O Once I lov’d a Bonnie Lass.

I first heard about Burns Night Celebrations, such as the Hackney Cyclists Burns Night fundraiser, last year and was really eager to go to it.  Unfortunately, it had sold out before I could get tickets.  So this year, I kept a close eye on the website and saw the Hackney Cyclists celebration was to take place on the 30th of January.  Matt and I managed to get a few of the last tickets.  Since it had sold out before some other friends could get tickets, we ended up finding another celebration at the The Flask in Hampstead on the 25th.  So two Burns Night celebrations in one week.

The basic structure of a Burns Night Supper is as follows:

Welcoming speech

Entrance of the Haggis  (accompanied by bagpipes)  If you don’t know what haggis is – read here

Address to the Haggis (The address is recited and the haggis slashed open with a knife)

Supper (includes haggis, neeps (turnip) and tatties (potato) – these days veggie haggis is a regular option)

Toasts with whiskey, usually including a toast to the lassies with a response toast to the laddies

Other toasts, speeches, recitation of poetry and/or singing of songs

Closing with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne

The Hackney Cyclists event included all the main components as well as some hearty Scottish dancing after the supper.  And yes, Matt did participate in the dancing (maybe that was down to the whiskey).  The whole event took place in a Hackney primary school and was a fundraiser for cycling projects.  It was a fun night full of a great sense of community.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of a good old square dance in an elementary school gym at home.

The address to the haggis


The bagpipes


The supper (veggie version)


Unfortunately, there is no photo evidence of the dancing!

3 Responses to “Burns Night 2010”

  1. Mom and Dad Says:

    YOU ATE HAGGIS? Does it taste anything like blood pudding?

    Maybe that’s why Matt was dancing?!

  2. matt Says:

    It’s actually quite tasty. The meat isn’t too bad (it’s not like eating intestines, which I did in Paris — that was a bit too much!) and you don’t actually eat the stomach. I liked it so much I ate it twice in one week. One word of warning — it expands, so if you eat too much of it, you will really really regret it shortly. 🙂

  3. Mom and Dad Says:

    So you started dancing as fast as you can after consuming too much haggis? Helps to aid digestion, does it? (The dancing, I mean!)