Burns Night crops up every January and I had no idea what it represents until recently. You wouldn’t believe my husband is half Scottish huh! Turns out Mr Burns, who the night is named after, wrote a poem titled “Address to a Haggis”. Now, haggis has a special anecdotal place in my heart as you will find out below.
A few years ago, we were at my husband’s (the boyfriend) parents for a celebratory dinner (I can’t remember why now). Anyways, Haggis-on-a-stick was served as an amuse-bouche (never thought I’d get the chance to use this phrase legitimately).
My boyfriend then proceeds to tell me that haggis is a deer-like animal with legs longer on one side of the body so they can run around mountains without toppling over. Male and female have this leg length trait on opposite sides so they can meet and kiss on the mountain. The second part should have rung alarm bells but naively, I believed him! When he later told everyone about this, they couldn’t stop laughing. Turns out, his dad had played the same joke on his mum. I haven’t been allowed to forget this, even now that we’re married.
So with that out of the way, what is Burns Night?
A Very, Very, Brief Burns Night Overview
Why Burns Night?
To celebrate the life and works of Scotland national poet, Robert Burns. One of his famous work is “Auld Lang Syne”, sang on New Year’s Eve. He led a very brief and varied life, dying at the young age of 37. You can read more about it here.
When Does it Occur?
On January 25th every year which is Robert Burns’ birthday. Although when it started in 1801, it was in July, on the anniversary of his death.
How is it Celebrated?
One of the most commons ways is to have Burns Supper which involves haggis of course. Poetry recitals and songs are commonplace. You don’t have to wear a kilt but something with a bit of tartan would go down well. If you are curious about the ins and outs of Burns Night then there is a good guide here.