Wednesday Wisdom How To Celebrate Burns Night

You may or not know that today is Burns Night. A Scottish day of celebration that nowadays is celebrated south of the border, too.

Until researching it, we were a little unsure of its tradition and how it all works. Now that we're a bit more clued up on the celebration and its history, we thought it'd be best to share it with you. After all, there are plenty of opportunities up and down the UK to get involved this evening!

Why is it celebrated?

Burns Night is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns, who is the author of many Scottish poems.

The poet was born in 1759, and is most famous for writing Auld Lang Syne, which we are all familiar with from New Year's Eve and Hogmanay celebrations. You know, the one where you link arms in a circle!

Burns died aged just 37 in 1796 and five years following his death, the tradition of celebrating began. For the first few years, it wasn't celebrated on his birthday, but ever since it has been held today.

How is it celebrated?

So, the way in which Burns Night traditionally goes is that friends and family will gather for a supper of food and drink. If your Burns Night is being done properly, a piper will greet the guest will traditional music from the bagpipes. If you don't have a piper to hand, some traditional Scottish music will suffice.

Next, it is the host's responsibility to welcome their guests and say grace, which in this instance is the ‘Selkirk Grace'. Then, it is time to get stuck into all of the food courses ahead!

First up, is the soup course. This is usually a Scottish broth, potato soup or cock-a-leekie soup; which is leek and chicken for those not clued up on their Scottish lingo.

The main course of haggis will be presented in a large dish, while the piper plays again. Traditionally, the host will then recite the ‘Address to a Haggis' before you can begin eating. The haggis is usually served with mashed potatoes and turnips.

The feast doesn't end there! Next up, traditional Scottish desserts such as cranachan or tipsy laired will be served, followed by oatcakes and cheese. Need something to wash all of that down with? Scotch whisky – or the “water of life” as Scots call it – is on hand to do so!

Depending on how traditional or not your evening is, songs and poems from Burns' work will then be recited. Finally, the evening will close with everyone joining arms and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne'.

Where can you celebrate?

Obviously, you can pretty much celebrate Burns Night anywhere you go in Scotland, but if you're south of the border – where can you go?

If you're London there are a number of pubs putting on events for Burns Night. Two of the most promising look like: The Rabbit and Shed on Kings Road, where you can even get a battered Mars bar and South place Cinema, who are putting Scottish films on whilst serving Michelin-starred snacks!

Similarly, Birmingham has no shortage of establishments paying homage to Burns Night. Hockley, located in the Jewellery Quarter, is serving up a three-course menu at a reasonable price per head!

If you're looking for some Burns Night celebrations in the north-west, Manchester is the place to be. And if you fancy a Scottish themed quiz for the night, you need to head to the Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter, which will also be accompanied with Irn Bru cocktails!

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Date Posted: Wednesday 25th January 2017

Author: George Crewe

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