Wishing our Scottish customers a very happy Burns Night in 2021!
Known in medieval Celtic culture as a story teller, verse maker and composer, the word ‘Bard’ has become synonymous with the world’s greatest poets. However, few are as celebrated as Scotland’s own ‘National Bard’, Robert Burns, who is paid tribute to on 25 January each year.
The main attraction of Burns Night is the Burns Supper. This traditionally involves participants donning tartan, listening to bagpipes, crooning Auld Lang Syne and reciting the great writer’s songs and poems.
The song Auld Lang Syne was derived from a poem penned by Burns in 1788, which he originally sent to the Scots Musical Museum.
Burns Night celebrations commonly incorporate the Saltire, the national flag of Scotland.
What’s in the traditional dinner?
The jewel in the crown of any Burns Supper is always haggis, a savoury ‘pudding’ containing minced sheep’s heart, liver and lungs bound with onion, oatmeal, suet, stock and a selection of spices. It is traditionally bound in the animal’s stomach.
Burns describes haggis as the “great chieftain o’ the puddin-‘race” and a traditional Burns Night kicks off with a host reading his "Address to Haggis".
Address to 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 wordy o' a grace
As lang's my airm.
(fa = befall, sonsie = jolly/cheerful)
(aboon = above, a' = all)
(painch = paunch/stomach, thairm = intestine)
(wordy = worthy)
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
(hurdies = buttocks)
His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
(dicht = wipe, here with the idea of sharpening)
(slicht = skill)
(reekin = steaming)
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
(deil = devil)
(swall'd = swollen, kytes = bellies, belyve = soon)
(bent like = tight as)
(auld Guidman = the man of the house, rive = tear, i.e. burst)
Is there that o're his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?
(olio = stew, from Spanish olla/stew pot, staw = make sick)
(scunner = disgust)
Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
(nieve = fist, nit = nut, i.e. tiny)
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whistle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thristle.
(wallie = mighty, nieve = fist)
(sned = cut off)
(thristle = thistle)
Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!
(skinkin ware = watery soup)
(jaups = slops about, luggies = two-handled continental bowls)