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Shortcut: Burns Night

Shortcut: Burns Night

Name: Burns Night (AKA 25th January).

Age: 263, going on 264.

Appearance: A Scottish institution honouring the great Bard. 

Shakey-P? No. The clue’s sort of in the name. And the country.

Robert Burns! Rabbie! Scotland's greatest cultural icon! Of course. Creator of celebrated works such as Tam o' Shanter, Scots Wha Hae and Auld Lang Syne…

So, what do we have to do? Well, Burns Night is a celebration of Rabbie’s life and poetry that typically involves high jinks with haggis and whisky.

Sounds terrific! It is. Like Christmas Day but without all the fuss... A birth is celebrated, it falls on the 25th and everyone basically eats the same thing for dinner.

Let me guess… haggis? Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!

Says who? Burns, in his 1786 poem Address to a Haggis. Now then, before you get to sip a dram and toast the main man, you’ll want to peel your neeps and tatties…

Hang on a minute, Burns spoke to a haggis? Yes, and so should you, at your Burns Supper. This hearty feast can be enjoyed in a rather ceremonious fashion, depending where you are or how far you want to go. Traditionally, the haggis is paraded – even piped – to the table in pomp. 

Wow, really? Yes, but you can go little or large here to be honest. If you eat haggis and drink whisky on Burns Night, you’re playing the game. Having an order of service with poetry recitals and so on is a bit elite level for home, however, there are plenty of places – globally – that host lavish events should you want the full Burns Supper experience.

Sign me up! VisitScotland have a fantastic Burns Supper Toolkit (seriously) full of handy tips to help you create a memorable Burns Night, including a Spotify playlist, suggested readings and a running order.

Fantastic, thanks. And what a great tradition. Indeed. Burns did so much to popularise Scotland's rich historical, cultural and literary heritage with a hearty dose of irreverent humour to boot.

Do say: O what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin', rich!

Don’t say: What about Dry January/Veganuary?

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  • What are the best types of single malts to pair with Haggis? What characteristics should they have?


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