The 25th of January represents a significant date here in Scotland, for that’s traditionally known as ‘Burns Night’ (also called Robert Burns Day or Rabbie Burns Day) and celebrated across the country by most Scotts.
This is when Scottish folk, regardless of the day it falls on, will partake in a traditional Burns Supper, as a celebration of the life and work of Robert Burns (the 25th of January 1759 – the 21st of July 1796), author of some of the most cherished Scottish poetry.
Below we found a fantastic video of the Burns Night 2021 with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, we invite you to grab your best headphones and continue reading this article while listening and getting in the spirit of the Burns Night:
Whether this event is celebrated with a formal or informal gathering, any respectable Burns supper will always involve a serving of Haggis (as a celebration of one of his poems, ‘Address to a Haggis’), Scotch Whisky, traditional Scottish music, and of course the recital of Burns’s poetry throughout the evening.
At a formal Burns Supper (usually hosted by a club, society, or local organisation of sorts), you would usually find guests dressed up for the occasion, which in Scotland often means wearing kilts, tweed, and a variety of tartan clothing as a distinctive representation of one’s family heritage or wider clan.
You may also enjoy a few bagpipe tunes, a host reciting poetry in between your courses, and plenty-a-toast shouted (or slurred, depending on the time of night) in Scott dialect.
The meal itself would usually involve soup, haggis neeps and tatties, traditional desserts (e.g. whisky trifle), oatcakes and cheese, all of which are generally washed down by a nip (or twenty) of patriotic Scotch Whisky and accompanied by traditional music.
Informal gatherings may easily range from a homecooked meal with a few pals over to a nice traditional meal in your local pub or restaurant of choice before potentially finding a cushty spot to pass the hipflasks around and catch a glimpse of the fireworks, be it those arranged by your local council or your neighbours’ improvised pyrotechnics.
Regardless of the shape your evening may take, or the fact this all originated from a few Ayrshire merchants (some of which had known Rabbie) hosting a commemorative supper and forming the Burns Club back in 1801, it’s become. It will likely remain an important date in the Scottish calendar, one to celebrate all that which is typical ‘Scott’, the culture, the language, the literature, the past, the present, and of course, the people!
If you want to learn more about the story of Robert Burns you can watch the YouTube video below: