Burns Night

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Burns (Robert) Night

January 25
Burns Night is the anniversary of the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns, who was born in 1759 in a clay cottage that blew down a week later and died in 1796. The day is celebrated not only in Scotland but also in Newfoundland, where there is a sizeable settlement of Scots, and wherever there are devotees of this lusty poet.
The celebrations generally take the form of recitations of Burns's poetry ("Tam O'Shanter" is a standard), the imbibing of quantities of single-malt Scotch whiskey, and the serving of haggis, a Scottish dish made of a sheep's or calf's innards (liver, heart, etc.) cut up with suet and oatmeal, seasoned, and boiled in the stomach of the animal. At the point of the carving of the haggis, it is traditional to recite "To a Haggis," with its line, "Great chieftain o' the pudding race!"
In the course of things, the Selkirk grace is also read: "Some hae meat, and canna eat/ And some wad eat that want it/ But we hae meat and we can eat/ And sae the Lord be thanket." And other favorite lines will be heard—for example, "O, my luve's like a red, red rose," and "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us/ To see oursels as others see us!" The evening always ends, of course, with "Auld Lang Syne."
Edinburgh Convention Bureau
29 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh, Scotland EH3 7RN United Kingdom
44-13-1473-3666; fax: 44-13-1473-3877
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 86
BkHolWrld-1986, Jan 25
DictDays-1988, p. 16
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 47
OxYear-1999, p. 49