Festivals and Celebrations · Scotland

Burns Supper Time

Haggis, Whisky and a Toast Tae the Lassies


  (image via shutterstock.com)

Robert Burns (1759- 1796)

Yes, it really is a year since I last wittered on about Burns’ Night. Said night is nothing to do with standing too close to a bonfire and ending up in Accident and Emergency. Rather, it’s the night when Scots and Scotophiles, both in Scotland and around the world, commemorate the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

A Burns’ supper is held annually on the 25th January to commemorate his birth. Haggis is eaten and whisky, along with some of the guests by the end of the evening, is drunk. Speeches are made, Burns’ songs are sung, and his poetry recited.

I’ve blogged about the traditions involved in the supper and given examples of some of the best known of Rabbie’s songs and poems in previous posts. If you’re attending a supper and you aren’t sure what to expect, or have to a speech to make, you might find it helpful to read those earlier posts.

Let’s hear it for women

In my 2014 post there is my own version of a Toast to the Lassies. This is a speech usually made by a man in honour of women. Burns had a romantic view of the world and of women, but he was also an unfaithful husband and womaniser. Of course times have changed since Burns’ day. Women have made progress in terms of equality with men, but even now in 2016 women have a way to go to attain full equality of earnings, opportunity  and respect. So if I was proposing a toast to the lassies today it would involve asking for a concerted effort on the part of everyone to improve the lot of women worldwide. Here endeth the politics.

Burns’ poetry and what’s involved in a supper

In 2015’s post I described the format that’s usually followed at a Burns’ supper and I also wrote about the man and his work. He wrote romantic, philosophical and political poems and songs.

He also wrote an epic thriller of a poem, Tam O’Shanter, which is one of favourite pieces of his work. My other favourites are the romantic song Ae Fond Kiss and the political and, satirical poem A Parcel of Rogues about the pre-United Kingdom, Scottish parliament.

A Toast

So, in honour of Scotland’s – so far unsurpassed –  national bard, I raise a wee dram of whisky to all of you who drop in here to read my scribblings. Here’s tae ye all Lassies and Laddies. Slainte Mhath, Your Good Health! and Thank You.

Do let me know in the comments if you’re going to a Burns’ Supper this year. Will you be proposing one of the toasts? And do you have any favourites among his poems and songs?

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