Several years ago, my husband and I had the privilege of going to Scotland. It was culturally impressive and I learned a lot. I’m an Irish girl married to a Native American, so, it was an experience. But a friend spoke of enjoying a Robbie Burns Supper recently, and I thought, maybe you are where I was not too long ago, wondering what it was and what they had at one. So here is what I was told but remember, I’ve not been to one so if you have better information, please, share with us!
What is at a Robbie Burns Dinner/Supper?
The first supper was held as a type of memorial at the Burn’s cottage by Burns’s friends, on 21 July 1801 five years after his death so it is a dinner with a lang heritage.
Here is an excellent site to answer all your questions,
This site is full of stories, poems, recipes and everything you need to carry on your own celebration… and you end every dinner with the famous Auld lang Syne—written by auld Robbie himself!!
…but I’ll give you the outline that is fairly often followed whether it be formal or casual.
Introduction — Itinerary — Sources — Recipes
urns Supper Itinerary
from Burns Night: My Supper With Rabbie
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
The celebrants gather and mingle, catch up on gossip, pore through their Burns editions, and peruse the whisky selection. The chairman or host may make some introductions among the guests, assign some readings, or deliver a few opening remarks.
Meal – Welcome Grace
The celebrants are called to the table, the host offers an opening grace – traditionally The Selkirk Grace – and the soup course is served.
Parade of the Haggis
The evening’s highest bit of pomp. The chef, carrying in the haggis, follows the piper – playing Brose & Butter,or some other appropriate tune – in a more or less dignified procession through the hall (or house, or one bedroom flat). The chef lays the haggis, on it’s groaning trencher, before the chairman at the high table.
Address to a Haggis
A previously designated reciter reads this poem over the haggis. A guid whisky gill is offered to the piper, chef and reciter, and with alacrity, the haggis is sliced open with the finely honed edge of a ceremonial dirk (though any old knife will do).THE (BAGLESS) HAGGIS
1/2 lb. beef liver
Boil the meats for an hour. Cool. Grate the liver. Chop the others fine. Chop the suet. Toast the oatmeal in a shallow pan in the oven, shaking occasionally. Mix the meats, suet, onions and oatmeal together with a cup of the stock in which liver and meats were cooked. Add salt and plenty of pepper to taste.
Turn into greased Pyrex bowl. Cover with 2 or 3 layers of foil. Steam on a rack in a pan of boiling water for 2 hours, adding more boiling water as it boils away.
Robbie Burns Day: 10 facts you never knew
SIMCOE COUNTY – Each year celebrations are held to mark the birthday of Scottish bard Robbie Burns, who was born in 1759.
He wrote his first song when he was 15 years old and died at age 37. Though he lived a short life, it was definitely not boring and he is celebrated every year.
Here are 10 facts you may not have known Robert Burns Day or the writer himself.
10. How it came to be
Robert Burns Day was not an annual celebration until several years after his death when a group of his friends gathered to honour his memory. It caught on and is now celebrated around the world on the date of his birth, Jan. 25.
No Robert Burns Day dinner is complete without haggis – or, “the great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race,” as Burns called it.
Haggis is a large, spherical sausage made of a sheep’s liver, heart and lungs, which are traditionally chopped with beef or mutton suet, oatmeal, onion and spices. It is packed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled.
Too squeamish to try it? There are haggis-flavoured chips available on the market.
Haggis also comes in different colours, from light brown to black. If cooked too long, its insides can burst out like a haggis river.
8. Literary inspiration
The title of J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye was based on one of Burns’ poems called Comin’ Thro’ the Rye.
As well, John Steinbeck’s famous 1937 novel Of Mice and Men also got its title from a Burns poem called To a Mouse.
7. Auld Lang Syne
Burns wrote the classic tune often sung around the winter holidays. The Guinness Book of World Records has named it one of the top three most popular songs in the English language, along with Happy Birthday, and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.
6. Out of this world
Astronaut Nick Patrick carried a book of Burns’ poetry with him while on a space mission in 2010.
5. Stamp of approval
In 1956, commemorative stamp to mark the 160th anniversary of Burns’ death was put out not by his home country – but by the Soviet Union.
4. Baby Daddy
Burns was quite the ladies man. In the span of 11 years, he had 13 children with five different women. He was only ever married to one of these women, Jean Armour. His last child, born to Armour and named Maxwell Burns, arrived on the day of his funeral in 1796.
3. Grave diggers
Burns’ body was exhumed in 1815 so it could be put in a new mausoleum. A plaster of his skull was done for researchers to study it, and they found it was larger than the average man’s skull.
Of all writers, none have more statues dedicated to them around the world than Burns. The oldest one still existing is in Camperdown, Australia. It was carved by John Greenshields in 1826 and shipped to Australia in the 1850s.
1. King of Pop
The late singer Michael Jackson is said to have been a fan of Burns and actually worked on an album that put his poems to music, which was never released.
Source: Scotland.org, VisitScotland.com, LiveLoveScotland.com