Burns' Night falls on Friday 25th January this year and will be celebrated around the world to honour the Scottish poet Robert 'Rabbie' Burns.
(Rabbie who? Born in Ayrshire in 1759, Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist. The first Burns' Supper was held in 1801 by friends who gathered together to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death.)
With guests greeted upon arrival by a piper and seated at their tables, traditionally a Burns' Supper begins with a short prayer, the Selkirk Grace:
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 Thankit!
Some have meat and cannot eat, Some cannot eat that want it, But we have meat and we can eat, So let the Lord be Thankit!
Hosting your own supper? Here's everything you'll need to create a perfect Burns Night Table !
The haggis is the main attraction of the night, delivered on a silver platter by the chef and played into the room by bagpipers, where the reader begins the Address to the Haggis:
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race! Aboon them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye worthy o' a grace, As lang's my arm.
Good luck to you and your honest, plump face, Great chieftain of the sausage race! Above them all you take your place, Stomach, tripe, or intestines: Well are you worthy of a grace, As long as my arm.
(Stomach, tripe, and intestines? Yes, you read correctly! Haggis is made from the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep, minced and mixed with beef or mutton suet and oatmeal, seasoned with onion, pepper, and other spices. The mixture is packed into a sheep's stomach and boiled. Sound delicious?)
The menu for the night consists of cock-a-leekie soup to start, followed by haggis, neeps, and tatties of course, and topped off with a clootie dumpling or cranachan (and a dram of whisky or two!).
After dinner is the Immortal Memory toast, where one guest stands and gives a speech to celebrate the life and art of the great poet himself. This is followed by the Toast to the Lassies, which traditionally was to give thanks to the women for cooking the supper but is now the speaker's tongue-in-cheek view on the women in the room. This is then met with the Reply to the Laddies, putting the men in their place, all in good fun though!
(Speaking of lassies, did you know that Rabbie was a bit of womaniser? He wrote many a poem dedicated to the lassies in his life and fathered fourteen children to six different women?)
The night comes to an end with everyone giving thanks and joining hands to sing Auld Lang Syne:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne? For auld land syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne.