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British Culture, British Customs and British Traditions

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This section is in advanced English and is only intended to be a guide, not to be taken too seriously! With dictionary look up.

Robbie Burns Burns' Night - January 25th

Robert Burns (aka Robbie Burns / Rabbie Burns) was born on the 25th January 1759 and died on the 21st July 1796. He is the best known Scottish poet and every year he is commemorated by Scots all over the world with haggis, whisky and a big party.

The centre of every Burns Supper is the steaming haggis, a pudding of sheep organs, oatmeal and savoury spices, which is ceremoniously piped in and then addressed with the reading of the poet's brash Ode To A Haggis.

In it, Burns, who revelled in Scottish tradition, praises the most famous of his country's dishes, named after a mythical Highland beast with two long legs and two short legs to enable it to run around hillsides. The ode begins: "Fair fa your honest sonsie face/ great chieftain of the puddin' race!/ Weel are ye wordy of a grace/ as lang's my arm."

After the dinner of haggis, neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (creamed potatoes) and a variety of mutton pastries washed down with copious glasses of whisky, there are toasts. The toasts are usually given by someone who knows something about the poet and his work.

To round out the festivities, there is a ceilidh highlighting Scottish music, song, poetry and dancing.

If you want to host your own Burns Supper I can recommend this web site for ideas:-

The Supper


British Culture