Burns Supper is observed on January 25 of every year in honor of the famous Scottish Bard, Robert Burns, whose life and works set precedence for many poets in Scotland and across the globe. Burns Supper, as it is celebrated now, is marked with merriment and celebration. Notable activities of this day include the preparation of haggis, a traditional Scottish dish, the reading of Burns poems, and the coming together of men and women from diverse backgrounds.
History of Burns Supper
Burns supper celebrates the life and works of Robert Burns (1759-1796), a prolific Scottish Poet famous for his poems and songs. He is most known for his poetry that celebrates his ethnic past while also addressing societal issues.
During his lifetime, Burns (also known as ‘Rabbie’) attracted a lot of attention in his country, and his writings are still relevant two centuries later. Nine of his friends convened in 1801, five years after his death, to find a way to remember him. The first Burns supper was held in July of the same year. Despite the passage of time, this custom is still alive and well.
Much later, the formal Burns Supper was established on January 25, which also happens to be Burns’ birthday, and this day is observed with fanfare and celebrations of many kinds. Notably, this commemoration has aided in displaying Scotland’s rich cultural legacy to the rest of the world.
Burns supper which is also known as Burns Night can range from a small and informal gathering of family members and close friends to a large and formal gathering of folks in the community. Burns Supper takes different forms and stages, namely, planning the meal to prepare, the supper itself, and the attire to adorn.
Haggis and other side dishes such as neeps and tatties, Scottish music, scotch, and Burns poetry, including his song devoted to haggis, are all familiar sights at a Burns supper. You may be wondering what Burns Supper ultimately revolves around. Burns supper revolves around the celebration of life, food, socializing, and revelry.
Burns Supper timeline
Burns writes one of his most notable works "Address to a Haggis."
Burns, whose life and work are celebrated at every Burns Supper, passes away.
The first Burns Supper at Burns’ house in Alloway takes place.
A centenary anniversary called the "Birth of Burns," a hundred-year posthumous birthday of Robert Burns occurs.
Burns Supper FAQs
What do I wear to a Burns dinner?
If you’re hosting the party at your house, you can wear whatever you want, but it’s highly encouraged that you wear some tartan! It’s totally up to you whether you wear a tartan hat, a tartan tie, or the whole kilt ensemble.
Is Burns Supper a Public Holiday?
Burns Supper is not a public holiday. For the Burns Supper on January 25, businesses and government offices will be open as usual.
How do you say Happy Burns Night in Scotland?
In Scotland, the traditional way people greet each other is with the phrase ‘Sláinte Mhath!’ which also translates to ‘Good Health!’— it’s pronounced ‘slanj’-uh va.’ You could say ‘Oidhche Bhlas Burns’ which translates to ‘Happy Burns Night.’
Burns Supper Activities
Make a hearty feast
The Burns Supper is a glamorous feast that encompasses beautiful colors, sights, and sounds. To commemorate this day, make a hearty feast of the symbolic haggis, neeps, and tatties, and wash it down with a glass of whisky.
Recite Burns’ poems
A Burns supper isn't complete without the reciting of his poems, according to tradition. “Auld Lang Syne” is frequently recited to the assembled crowd before the meal begins.
Read Burns’ "Address to a Haggis"
As a tradition, a Burns supper is incomplete without the recitation of Burns’ poems that are addressed to haggis. Many people anticipate the time when the party's host reads out Rabbie Burns' beautiful lines to make the day unforgettable.
5 Facts About Burns Supper That You Need To Know
Scotland celebrates Burns Supper
Burns Supper, also known as Burns Night is a yearly tradition in Scotland.
Poems are recited on Burns Supper
As a culture, Robert Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis” is recited before the supper starts.
Kilts are worn
The knee-length skirt, which is a traditional clothing of the Scottish men, is often worn at Burns supper.
Robert Burns wrote “Auld Lang Syne”
The most famous poem sung every New Year all over the world “Auld Lang Syne” was written by the man himself.
The Burns Day Storm
From January 25 to 27 of 1990, an extremely violent windstorm raged through Northwest Europe and was named the Burns Day Storm.
Why We Love Burns Supper
It is a National Day in Scotland
Burns Supper is often considered to be Scotland's ‘other national day’ after St. Augustine Day in November. This Day has gained national recognition and court engagement for more than two centuries. It is a time the Scots always look forward to.
It celebrates a national hero
Although 'Rabbie' Burns lived only 37 years, his life and achievements as a great poet are considered a national treasure in Scotland. The Burns Supper is a way of honoring this national hero.
It puts Scotland's culture on the global scene
Since the first observance of Burns supper some 200 years ago, its popularity has transcended many generations and remarkably put Scotland's culture on the global map. Celebration of Burns Supper has crossed the shores of Scotland to other countries around the world.
Burns Supper dates