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Less than a month after celebrating the New Year at Hogmanay, the Scots turn their attention to their great poet Robert ‘Robbie’ Burns. His day (or rather night) is celebrated by many with a food and drink-based ceremony, the centrepeice of which is the Haggis, about which Burns wrote a poem. (Wordsworth wrote about daffodils, but you don’t get us sassanachs getting that excited about them).

Anyway, on the principle of ‘any excuse for a party’, many of us dig deep into our ancestry to validate our sudden enthusiasm for all things Scottish. For many, this mostly involve whisky, whilst being more selective about other aspects such as porridge, bagpipe music or the haggis itself.

Done properly, the Burns meal can be quite a performance involving welcoming the haggis to the table with applause and a bagpipe accompaniment. It is then ‘addressed’ with the Burns poem, during which, at the line ‘ His knife see rustic Labour digit’, the speaker/host stabs and splits open the pudding (Trenching your gushing entrails bright’ so it can be served to the guests.’wi bashit neeps and champit tatties’ (swedes and potatoes). The dessert course is either Clootie Dumpling (a pudding cooked in a linen cloth) or Tipsy Laird (a Scottish version of a sherry trifle). Bannocks (oatcakes) and cheese are also available. Then there are the whiskies (other Scottish spirits, such as Drambuie, are available).

Many pubs and restaurants use Burns Night either to show off their culinary skills  or as a special apromotional/ttraction/fundraiser, so why not don some Scottish or tartan wear and indulge in kilty pleasures?


NB. We have very limited stocks of Scots-wear, almost all of which is already spoken for!


Address to Haggis title.png

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm :
Weel are ye wordy 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 sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

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;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as 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 mak 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!


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