Auld Lang Syne, Mr Burns!
Christmas is past us, and as New Year draws to a close, the Scot‘s prepare for the next big event. Scotland’s other national day after the St Andrews Day which occurs late November. We are of course talking about Burns Night! Many of us are aware of Burns night but very few actually know why we celebrate this occasion. Let’s take a little dive back in time to understand exactly what is special about this celebrated time.
Burns night is a celebration which occurs annually on the 25th January in memory to Scotland’s most famous poet- Robert Burns, whose birthday was the 25th January. Born in Ayr, Burns had more to him than just poetry. He produced hundreds of poems, songs and letters. Have you ever heard the song ‘Auld Lang Syne‘ or perhaps even sung it whilst seeing in the New Year?! That was written and produced by no other than Mr Robert Burns.
The actual celebrations are held as a traditional Burns dinner which is an evening event that celebrates Robert’s life work and life. History shows that the first ever Burns Night was hosted by 9 of Roberts close friends who decided to get together to mark the fifth anniversary of their friends death. It was held at Burns cottage in Alloway, the spread included a wholesome meal of haggis, performances displaying Burn‘s work and a speech held in honour of the great ‘Bard‘. The night was such a success that is was decided to be held again, this time in commemoration or Roberts birthday, thus born the tradition we all know and love today- Burns Night!
The helm of and Burns dinner is always the haggis, another myth amongst a lot of brits! You may be familiar with the word but maybe not the ingredients. Haggis is a savoury pudding containing the heart, liver and lungs of sheep, minced onions, oatmeal, suet, stack and a selection of spices. Traditionally this is all then contained in the animal’s stomach. Haggis is served with a side mashed turnip and potatoes which is usually mashed. The food of course is usually accompanied by the finest scotch whiskey.
The very first celebration of Burns night was held in 1801 and today the same traditions remain, some 200 years on! Mr Burns sadly passed away in 1796 and today is honoured with the title of ‘Scotland’s national poet‘
Written by Damon Robinson