(pexels) Photo by: Wender Junior Souza Vieira

Tonight marks Burns Night, a traditional Scottish celebration honouring the life of poet Robert Burns.

Burns night is traditionally celebrated with a Burns supper with family and friends, with traditional delicacies and activities.

Burns suppers typically include haggis, neeps (swedes) and tatties (potatoes), Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns’s poetry.

The event is celebrated mainly in Scotland, with the Scottish parliament declaring the celebration of Burns Night to be a key cultural heritage event.

With roots dating back to the late 1700’s the celebration commemorates Robert Burns.

Though he died in 1796, he left behind a collection of over 500 poems including his most famous pieces like: ‘To a Mouse’, ‘Address to a Haggis’ and ‘Selkirk Grace’ which are spoken throughout Burns suppers.

His legacy has earned him recognition and he is still considered Scotland’s national poet.

Burns suppers also traditionally have an order to them, for example in formal gatherings bagpipes will be played as the host greets arriving guests, which is known as ‘piping in guests’.

After guests are seated a grace is usually said using the poem ‘Selkirk Grace’.

Traditionally, when the main course of haggis is brought in, guests stand in attendance whilst bagpipes play.

The host, or perhaps a guest, then recites the Address to Haggis, another poem penned by Burns.

Haggis the typical main course of Burns night.
(credit- Rod Capp)

A toast of scotch whisky will be proposed to the haggis, after which the meal will be eaten.

There is usually a part near the end of the Burns supper where the men boys jokingly make fun of the girls, which is called the ‘Toast to the Lassies’.

However, the girls get the last laugh when they respond mockingly with a speech called the ‘Reply From the Lassies’.

At the end of the night everyone is asked to stand, join hands, and sing “Auld Lang Syne” to close the evening.

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