Celebrate the birth of the Scottish bard this year with food, drink, speeches and, of course, renditions of Auld Lang Syne.
Who was Robert Burns?
Robert Burns, also known as Rabbie and the Bard of Ayrshire, has long been considered the national poet of Scotland.
Much of his work – which includes Auld Lang Syne (well his re-written version of the Scottish folk song) – is written in Scottish gaelic or English with a Scottish dialect and his influence grew widely after his death, largely among socialism and liberalism.
The traditional Burns Supper
Traditionally the Burns Supper starts off with The Selkirk Grace by Burns, which is a prayer of thanks, usually followed by a Scottish broth.
The centrepiece of any good Burns Supper menu is the iconic haggis, or as the poet himself described it, the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’, – served on a silver salver with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and brought into the dining room to the sound of bagpipes and slow claps. There is then an address to the haggis, which is read out as it is cut open and served.
Of course, there are several toasts throughout the evening including the Immortal Memory Toast and the Toast to the Lassies. The night usually ends with the group standing and holding hands while singing Auld Lang Syne.
Whisky is the usual choice at Burns Suppers, either malts or blends. Contrary to popular belief, adding a little water to your malt may improve rather than dilute the flavour, although some whisky drinkers may not take kindly to watering down their drams!
For dessert, why not try a traditional Cranachan recipe. Delicious raspberries folded into cream flavoured with honey, whisky and toasted oatmeal.
What to wear
If you’re hosting this event at home then literally anything goes, but it is definitely recommended that you wear at least a little bit of tartan! Whether it be a tartan hat, a tartan tie, or the full kilt get up, it’s entirely up to you.
The kilt thing, while many people often wear one for Burns Night, is in dispute however, with some claiming Burns would never have worn one as he was a lowlander.
See how you’d look in your own kilt here.