Thursday 22 January 2015

Burns Night

Lang May Yer Lum Reek.

This Sunday, 25th January, sees Scotland celebrating the birth of their nation’s favourite son.
This was the day in 1759 when Robbie Burns was born in Dumfries, Scotland.
Will you see out Burns night with a wild Ceilidh dance? Image via.
Best known as a poet, he wrote in the Scots language as well as standard English. Burns was regarded as one of the founders of the Romantic movement and as such became one of the great cultural icons of his nation.
There aren't many who are unfamiliar with his work as most of us have, at one time or another, sung one of his most famous works at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve or, as they would say in Scotland, Hogmanay. Auld Lang Syne is sung worldwide by many people of various nationalities, to ring in the New Year. This makes it one of the three most popular songs in the English language.

On Sunday most Scots around the world will mark his birthday with a celebration known as Burns Night.

Some people might just have a simple gathering with a few friends and family while others will choose the more elaborate approach.

In a more extravagant celebration there are many formal traditions adhered to.
Firstly, you will require a piper in order to welcome your guests. The bagpiper will continue to play until the top table is ready to be seated. At this point the pipes stop and the host will then greet his guests.

The greeting is followed by a prayer, known as the Selkirk Grace, indicating the meal can commence.

With all the assembled guests standing, the main feature will be brought forward by the chef accompanied by the piper and whomever will address the Haggis. This will be presented on a silver platter. At this point the whisky bearer should be on hand to ensure the guests have ample spirit in their glasses to do the toasts.

Once the Haggis has reached its destination at the table the music stops and the guests can be seated and await the reciting of To a Haggis.
Don't forget the Red Berry Sauce. Image via the Telegraph.
The reader of the address will be poised with a knife with which to plunge into the Haggis when reaching the words
His knife see rustic Labour dight
An’ cut you up with ready sleight
Upon uttering those words the haggis will be split with a knife or ceremonial sword.

Once the poem has been recited the assembled guests will toast the haggis and then the meal can begin.

This is typically a three course meal starting with cock-a-leekie (a chicken and leek soup) followed by the revered haggis, served with turnips and mashed potato known as neeps and tatties and finished off with Tipsy Laird which is a trifle laced, naturally, with whisky. All these courses will be washed down with whisky, the water of life.

When the meal has finished a speaker will then give a short speech either talking of Robert Burns or perhaps reciting some of his works.

Then will follow a 'Toast to the Lassies', originally intended to thank the women for the meal, and in response there will be a 'Reply to the Laddies' from one of the female guests.

Following the speeches there might be the reading of more poems and a sing-along of Burns songs.

Finally, after giving thanks, the guests will stand, join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne to bring the evening to an end.

Sterling silver menu holders made circa 1912 in Edinburgh. Contact for details.
George V Sterling Silver Meat Dish, perfect for serving haggis on a bed of curly kale. Click here to view on our website.
George III sterling silver soup tureen. Click here to view.
Toast the haggis with whisky supped from an Edwardian silver quaich. Click here to view.

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