Celebrating Burns Night

Celebrating Burns Night in Scotland is a tradition dating back over 200 years! Burns Night takes place every year on the 25th of January to mark the birthday of poet Robert Burns. Its is a time for Scottish food, whisky, poetry and Scottish music!

Who was Robert Burns?

Robert Burns (also know as Rabbie Burns) was born in Alloway, two miles from Ayrshire.

At a young age he began to write, and by the time he was 27 he had become famous across the country having published poems such as ‘To a Louse’, ‘To a Mouse’ and ‘The Cotters Saturday Night.

Robert travelled across Scotland, involving himself in matters and relationships that would inspire his poems, such as ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ and Auld Lang Syne.

In 1796 Robert Burns died at the age of 37 after creating hundred of works of which The BBC have recordings of 716!

What poetry did Robert Burns write?

Robert Burns will be remembered for such poems as:

‘Scots wha hae’

‘Tam o Shanter’

‘A red, red rose’

‘Auld Lang Syne’ is probably the most famous, sung around the globe on Hogmanay to welcome in the new year.

Celebrating Burns Night. Thistle placed on Robert Burns poetry.

What is a Burns Supper?

After Robert Burns died, his friends gathered to commemorate his life and career on the date of his death, July 21st. The celebration has since shifted to January to mark his birthday.

This was the start of the famous burns supper which has been a tradition now for more than 200 years. Burns Night is considered one of Scotland’s biggest events of the year.

Celebrating Burns Night. A Burns Supper featuring haggis, neeps and tatties.

Celebrating Burns Night with a Burns Supper

Burns Suppers can be held at someone’s home on a small scale, or in a hotel on a larger scale.

If you attend a larger organised event, guests are piped into the venue by a bagpiper.

Traditionally you would then address the haggis at the table. This involves the host reciting the Robert Burns poem ‘Address the Haggis’.

At the end of the poem you sit down to a meal of haggis, neeps and tatties. A traditional Scottish dessert like Cranachan may complete your meal, or you can follow up with a whisky!

Historically the men recite the poem ‘Toast to the Lassies’ giving thanks to the women who made the meal. This is then retaliated with a poem ‘To the Laddies’.

At the end of the evening everyone gathers to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

This year why not try and host your own burns night, or go out? There will be plenty of restaurants around Aberdeen celebrating it. If you prefer a quieter celebration head to the supermarket to find your very own haggis (meat or vegetarian)!

Watch RGU staff celebrate Burns Night by performing ‘Address to the Haggis’ on our Facebook page

Read about other traditional Scottish holidays on our blog.