Thursday, January 25, 2007
Toe tapping - Burns Night
In 1785 Robert Burns was a guest at a lawyer’s dinner in Kilmarnock. The meet was euphemistically known as a haggis dinner, because haggis was the main meal. Haggis was cheap and wholesome being made from offal and oatmeal. Burns was asked to say grace and instead choose to address the haggis. The recitation went done well and was later published in a newspaper. This added to Robert Burns’ popularity as poet of the people. After his death many lamented his passing and a group of his friends met to have dinner to commemorate “The Bard.” The venue was in Alloway and the fayre was haggis. Burns had a great sense of humour and would have appreciated the Toast to the Haggis being ceremoniously recited. The friends decided to make the event an annual one and held it on January 25th (Burns birthday). News spread and in 1801 the world’s first Burns Club was founded in Greenock and now they are found all over the world. Burns Night is the pinnacle social event, where tribute to the life and works and rebellious spirit of Robert Burns is celebrated. Whether formal or informal the supper includes ‘Address to the Haggis,’ ‘The Immortal Memory” (reflection on the life of the Bard), a ‘Toast to the Lassies’ and a reply from the ‘Lassies’. Interspaced with songs and poems washed down with copious supplies of whisky and haggis.