Robert Burns wasn’t just any poet, he was a successful poet. There are more public statues of Burns around the world than any other writer, and only Queen Victoria and Columbus surpass him for dedicated, non-religious statuary. A commemorative bottle of coke with his image was released in 2009, for some insane reason. And to this day, Burns Suppers are held to commemorate his body of work.
Though any night of the year is fit for a celebration of Robert Burns, most Scots and Scots-descendants choose to honour the man on his birthday, the 25th of January. In case you weren’t paying attention, that’s today. While there ought to be plenty of Burns Suppers available for you to attend, nobody should be deprived of the man’s work for any reason, so Caotica is lending a helping hand to all of you. Here’s our lightning fast breakdown of the key elements to help you celebrate alone, at home, or on-the-go.
You’ll need the following items:
- One (1) Haggis, large.
- One (1) bottle Scotch whiskey.
- One (1) Playlist of mournful bagpipes.
Set these objects up and return to us when finished.
Ready? Excellent. Here’s the basic rundown of a Burns Supper for you:
- Welcoming words, meal commences with reading of the Selkirk Grace.
- Company stands to receive the Haggis (MANDATORY).
- Reading of “To a Haggis” to announce first cut into Haggis.
- Applause for speaker, whiskey toast to Haggis.
- The Immortal Memory: a *short* speech about the life of burns.
- Toast to the Lasses: Should always be witty, never be offensive.
- Response: Women’s response to preceding toast. Again, witty not offensive.
- Poems and Songs. Pretty self explanatory.
- Closing: The host leads everyone in Auld Lang Syne and a good cry.
There’s your plan for the evening! Now please, join the Caotica staff in lighting a candle and gulping down a Haggis for a truly great Scot. Flip through our catalogue of highland cuisine, mutter these poems under your breath to yourself, and just pretend you’re enjoying a meal with friends.
Some have meat and cannot eat it.
Some cannot eat that want it:
But we have meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
Address to a 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.
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.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre 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?
Poor devil! see him owre 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!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis
That should be enough to get you through the rest of the evening. Remember to look up some live Burns nights in your city next year, huh? A very merry Robbie Burns day to all our fellow Scots, Celts, Scots-ExPats, and friends of Scots.