25 January is Burns Night, when people around the world – and particularly in Scotland – celebrates the life and works of Scottish poet Robert (Rabbie) Burns. Feasting, drinking, music and Burns’ most celebrated songs and poems all feature strongly.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate Burns Night. The most traditional is to host a Burns supper, either on or close to 25 January (Rabbie Burns’ birthday). These have been hosted every year since 1801, five years after the poet’s death.
A Burns supper can be as formal or informal as you like, although there is a set running order that should be observed if the event is to be hosted ‘properly,’ which includes:
- A piper playing the guests in
- The host giving a welcoming speech that includes reading The Selkirk Grace
- A soup course
- The haggis course, with the piper playing while the haggis is brought in and Address to a Haggis recited
- The main course
- Dessert course
- Cheese course
- Speeches and toasts over coffee (including a main speech on Burns, followed by a male guest thanking the women for cooking and a female guest giving her views on men
- all with a great deal of humour)
- Singing of songs and reading of poetry written by Robert Burns
- A vote of thanks by one of the guests
- The singing of Auld Lang Syne
Clearly, this is not a quick undertaking!
If you’re planning to host your own Burns supper, get together with friends and divide the tasks up so that everyone contributes something. If you live in a property with its own private dining room, such as the lovely Glasgow student accommodation at Woodside House, then you already have the perfect location for hosting your Burns supper. And if you don’t happen to have a piper handy, then a clip from YouTube can certainly suffice!
Of course, if you don’t fancy hosting your own Burns supper, why not head out to one in your local area? Students in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow will be spoiled for choice, with an abundance of feasting options available. Other areas of the UK are also hosting celebrations, with restaurants, pubs, bars and even clubs hosting a range of events to honour the great poet. Check out your property’s Facebook page and local event listings to find out what your local options are and celebrate in style.
Happy Burns Night!
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