Sunday, 22 January 2017
Which day on January's calendar brings a mix of poetry, haggis, whisky and celebration? It has to be Burns' Night of course!
We've had those few weeks of post Christmas blues, Christmas debts, broken New Year resolutions - or that's what we are brainwashed into believing if you read all the newspapers. Most of us are just getting back into the routine of things again and back to normal life after all the indulgence of Christmas.
Burns' Night is always a welcome celebration after those first few weeks of January and buckling back down to routine - one of the first celebrations on the calendar in the New Year. We always celebrate Burns' Night in our family. For us, it's a way of remembering Rob's family - his mother and father who were born in Scotland. A way to think of Rob's heritage and remember those who are now absent from our lives. When it's Burn's Night I always remember fondly Rob's dad reading Burn's Selkirk Grace before the meal at our wedding breakfast.
The very first Burns' supper was held in 1801, when Burns' friends got together to mark the fifth anniversary of Burns' death. They celebrated his life with readings of his works, a haggis supper with tatties and neeps (that's potatoes and turnips) and a speech dedicated to the Bard (now known as the Immortal Memory). Despite a short life, Burns wrote many poems and songs, which have been enjoyed by generations. Many of us will have sung in the New Year recently with a rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne', probably Burns' most famous song.
We always used to enjoy a Burns supper when Rob's parents were alive and we continue to keep up the family tradition every year now. We usually enjoy a supper of haggis, neeps and tatties and perhaps a wee dram of whisky. There will be lots of Burns Night celebrations being held all over the country tonight. Usually they start with the Selkirk Grace, then the haggis is piped in, with 'Burns' Address to a Haggis' being read to the audience, then a toast to the haggis. Recitals are performed after the meal including 'The Immortal Memory' and then toasts are made to the lasses. The evening finishes with the audience standing with crossed arms, joining hands and singing 'Auld Lang Syne'. It's all great fun!
Do you celebrate Burns' Night or your family's heritage?