Friday, January 25, 2013

Burns' Night... TONIGHT!

Wow, it's too late to prepare a haggis (thank goodness) as I just realized that it is Burns' Night!

Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland, on January 25, 1759. He wrote many poems, lyrics and other pieces that addressed political and civil issues. Perhaps his best known work is "Auld Lang Syne", sung at New Year's Eve celebrations around the world. Burns is one of Scotland's important cultural icons and is well known among Scottish expats or descendants around the world. He is also known as: "Rabbie Burns"; the "Bard of Ayrshire"; "Scotland's favourite son"; and in Scotland "The Bard".

Download your FREE Burns' Night App (both iOS and Android) here:

Burns' suppers are held by people and organizations with Scottish origins worldwide, particularly in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States. These may be formal or informal events with men in kilts and women wearing shawls, skirts or dresses made from their family tartan. Formal events include toasts and readings of pieces written by Robert Burns. 

The evening centers on the entrance of the haggis (a sausage of sheep or calf offal mixed with suet and oatmeal prepared in the animal's stomach) on a large platter to the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, the host reads the "Address to a Haggis", an ode that  Burns wrote to the Scottish dish. At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces and the meal begins.

Food associated with Burns' Night include: cock-a-leekie soup (chicken and leek soup); haggis; neeps (mashed turnips or swedes) and tatties (mashed potatoes); cranachan (whipped cream mixed with raspberries and served with sweet oat wafers); and bannocks (a kind of bread cooked on a griddle). Whisky is the traditional drink, of course.

You can learn more at

Chartering the Barge Scottish Highlander would be an excellent venue for Burns' Night! Find out more at

Here's an interesting twist... a fun fusion of Burns' Night and Chinese New Year (from

Photo credit: Deb Martin
"Perhaps the best of the fusion Chinese New Year events is the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, which takes place Sunday, January 27 at Floata Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown. Vancouverite Todd Wong created the annual dinner in 1998 and the first party consisted of 16 people in a living room. As of 2012, the event included about 400 celebrants. As for the name, Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a play on words: haggis is a traditional Scottish food, while “Gung Hay Fat Choy” is a traditional Cantonese greeting for Chinese New Year."

So It Goes...