For the people of Scotland, and anyone of Scottish heritage Burns Night, held on or around 25th January each year is one of the most important (and fun!) events of the year. The day celebrates the The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, often called Rabbie Burns, and a celebration meal and poetry reading would be a lovely way to celebrate and add a bit of culture to your day.
Burns was thought to have been born on 25th January 1759, the son of a farmer. He tried to follow his father into a career in farming but his literary talent and political tendencies soon began to show.
He wrote much of his best work whilst still farming, the publication of his first book brought enough money for him to move to Edinburgh and to produce a second book of poetry. The income from this and a job as a tax collector allowed him to marry and settle down.
He continued to write over 200 songs, the best known of which is ‘Auld Lang Syne’, and poetry, most famously ‘Tam O’Shanter’. He died in 1796 and is revered as a national poet of Scotland.
A traditional celebration of Burns Night consists of a special meal and readings of his works, however if you want to include your children you probably won't offer them the traditional whisky toast!
The meal should of course be of Haggis. In case you don’t know, haggis is a kind of sausage made from a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. This should be served with Neeps and Tatties (potatoes and mashed swede).
Haggis - Image Credit: Amazon
If you can’t face haggis, then you could have the traditional starter of Cock-A-Leekie soup or some traditional deserts such as Clootie Dumpling (a pudding prepared in a linen cloth or cloot) or Typsy Laird (a Scottish sherry trifle)
The meal can be informal or formal; a formal meal includes much ceremonial poetry reading, whisky drinking and bagpipe playing. An informal meal can be exactly what you want it to be.
Here are some more information, recipes, Burns Night activities and the poetry of the great man himself.
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