A Burns’ Night Celebration

Every January 25, Scots celebrate their most famous bard, Robert Burns. The first Burns’ night was held by his friends to honor his memory in 1801 and is still celebrated over 220 years later! 

Although the current COVID-19 pandemic is still challenging social events and get-togethers, you can still celebrate Burns Night at home. You don’t even have to be in Scotland to celebrate Burns’ Night. Video calls make it possible to be somewhere even if you’re on the other side of the pond. Set up a video call or group chat so everyone near and far can join in. 

Eat

While real haggis is banned in the US, you can still enjoy an alternative like a rosemary roasted lamb or a roast chicken for those who aren’t too fond of lamb. Serve neeps and tatties (aka turnips and potatoes) and cock a leekie soup.

Drink

Scotch malt whiskey is the go-to for an ideal Burns Night. And while you’re pouring the whiskey, remember to recite a Selkirk Grace which goes like this:

Some hae meat and canna eat, 

And some wad eat that want it, 

But  we hae meat and we can eat, 

Sae let the Lord be Thanket!

Be sure to recite this before your meal!

Dessert

Enjoy a clootie dumpling or a sweet and creamy Cranachan.

Recite poetry

A Burns night without Burns’ famous poetry is not Burns Night without it. Recite his best poems like My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my luve’s like the melodie

That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:

O I will love thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,

And fare thee weel awhile!

And I will come again, my luve,

Though it were ten thousand mile.

Just be sure to sing Auld Lang Syne at the end of the evening! If you don’t know it, you’ll be surprised to find that you may actually already know some of it! It’s usually sung right after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s! 

Here’s a refresher:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,

 For auld lang syne.

 We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

 For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!

And surely I’ll be mine!

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,

And pou’d the gowans fine;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,

Frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d

Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!

And gie’s a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,

For auld lang syne.

To add some more Burns’ Night fun, host a quiz or trivia night. 

Scotland’s official website has a quiz on the bard that is both fun yet challenging. How well do you think you know Robert Burns?

-CD

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