Monday, 24 January 2011

Burns supper...

Good Evening friends,

Tomorrow will be a big occasion in Scotland and indeed in many other countries throughout the world it will be BURNS DAY. The day when some Scots celebrate the birth of Robert Burns. Suppers are help everywhere and most follow the same tradition that has been going on for many many years...Now as most of you know I am Scottish but I have a confession to make....I have never actually been to an oficial burns supper...I have had many many ordinary burns suppers...indeed I can hardly remember a year when we have not had the celebratory Haggis for lunch/dinner/supper....Tomorrow I will again be having my haggis. Sarah, Flick, (Sarah's friend) Mary and two or three other friends are joining me at a local pub for a burns lunch...Many of you will be already familiar with what goes on at a traditional supper but in case you are not I will write a bit about what actually goes on..and on ..and on...whilst usually the whisky flows !!!!

Piping in the guests

A big-time Burns Night calls for a piper to welcome guests. If you don't want all that baggage, some traditional music will do nicely. For more formal events, the audience should stand to welcome arriving guests: the piper plays until the high table is ready to be seated, at which point a round of applause is due. At a more egalitarian gathering - with no high table - the chair can simply bang on the table to draw attention to the start of the evening's proceedings.

Chairman's welcome

The Chair (host/organiser) warmly welcomes and introduces the assembled guests and the evening's entertainment.

The Selkirk Grace

A short but important prayer read to usher in the meal, The Selkirk Grace... Although the text is often printed in English, it is usually recited in Scots.

Some hae meat and canna eat,                               some have meat and cannot eat

And some wad eat that want it,                              and some would eat that want it

But we hae meat and we can eat,                          but we have meat and we can eat

And sae the Lord be thankit.                                 And so the Lord be thankful

                                           Piping in the haggis   

Guests should normally stand to welcome the dinner's star attraction, which should be delivered on a silver platter by a procession comprising the chef, the piper and the person who will address the Haggis. A whisky-bearer should also arrive to ensure the toasts are well lubricated.

During the procession, guests clap in time to the music until the Haggis reaches its destination at the table. The music stops and everyone is seated in anticipation of the address To a Haggis.

Address to the haggis

The honoured reader now seizes their moment of glory by offering a fluent and entertaining rendition of To a Haggis. The reader should have his knife poised at the ready. On cue, he cuts the casing along its length, making sure to spill out some of the tasty haggis within.

Warning: it is wise to have a small cut made in the haggis skin before it is piped in. Instances are recorded of top table guests being scalded by flying pieces of haggis when enthusiastic reciters omitted this precaution! Alternatively, the distribution of bits of haggis about the assembled company is regarded in some quarters as a part of the fun...

The recital ends with the reader raising the haggis in triumph during the final line Gie her a haggis!, which the guests greet with rapturous applause.

Toast to the haggis

Prompted by the speaker, the audience now joins in the toast to the haggis. Raise a glass and shout: The haggis! Then it's time to serve the main course with its traditional companions, neeps and tatties. In larger events, the piper leads a procession carrying the opened haggis out to the kitchen for serving; audience members should clap as the procession departs.

The meal

Served with some suitable background music, the sumptuous Bill o' Fare includes:-


Traditional cock-a-leekie soup;

Main course

Haggis, neeps & tatties (Haggis wi' bashit neeps an' champit tatties);Haggis mashed turnip and mashed potato


Clootie Dumpling (a pudding prepared in a linen cloth or cloot) or Typsy Laird (a Scottish sherry trifle);

Cheeseboard with bannocks (oatcakes) and tea/coffee.

I have been reading in the national paper over here that there are moves afoot to get the regulations forbidding the export of Haggis to the USA changed so perhaps one day soon you will all be able to join with me in raising a glass to the Haggis   LOL

I am quite sure tomorrow up at the Quarryman's Arms none of us will be addressing ..the haggis...indeed I fully expect it will arrive on our plates without us even seeing the Haggis as a whole !!!     however there are some things that we will enjoy.  I am sure that Sarah will be reminding us of years long past when she and John used to make their own haggis...and of times they celebrated with the Flick and family and friends.

Goodnight Friends...... LOVE ONE ANOTHER

I had some great news this morning I have won a "give away" by my good friend have a look at her wonderful blog    Buttercup Counts her Blessings...   you won't be diappointed


  1. It sounds like you will have a grand Burns day celebration. What fun it would be to see one of those official supper parties. I don't think we celebrate it here. At least I've never heard of it. Congrats on your prize from Buttercup.

  2. Happy Burns Night Sybil! Back home it is celebrated as well. Nova Scotia is home to lots of people with Scot's ancestry, myself included! My great great great great Grandfather was Boyd McNayr, who was born near Glasgow in the 1700's. He ended in Nova Scotia when his father left him with friends to go off and do stuff for the Royal Navy. His father was never heard from again as far as I know. SO Boyd grew up and lived in Nova Scotia the rest of his life! His ancestors are spread wide and far throughout the world! Anyways, enjoy your haggis and congrats on the win! xxoo

  3. Sybil honey what a wonderful time you are going to have celebrating Burns Night.
    Your crazy friend here in Texas thought at first you were going to tell us you burned your supper. hahaha Sorry I have to laugh at myself sometimes.
    What a interesting tradition! I hope all of you have fun be sure and tell us about it too.
    This afternoon around 4 I want be having so much fun I have to go to the dentist and have two teeth pulled. Something I have put off way too long. Just hope there are no complications.
    At least today the sun is shining and should warm up to 50. Not bad since we have not seen the sun in a while.
    Have fun

  4. Hi, Sybil!

    I LOVED this post with the description of Burns Day celebrations. You know that I am mostly Scottish in my ancestry and love learning more things about my ancestors' customs. I loved all the Scottish words. I have several framed sayings in Scottish in my home office. Love it!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Hey, when Prince William and Kate marry are you going to go to London for festivities?

  5. I hope that you had a lovely time celebrating Burns day. I am sure that it brought back sweet memories of John for Sarah and all of you.
    I have never had Haggis. Perhaps the law will be changed and I will get the pleasure of finding out what you are talking about. I have enjoyed reading about the tradition. It sounds like great fun. Now I just need to find out what Haggis is.
    Congrats on being a winner. I visit Buttercupland and enjoy her posts very much. It makes me feel like I've made a trip to NYC.

    Have a great week. Hugs, Lura

  6. Happy Burns night my friend. I must admit coming from Scotland on two sides of my family, we have never celebrated Burns night and I have never tasted Haggis!!!! But then I am not a great lover of meat. Gran used to have a tot of whisky and say "To Rabbie" and that is as far as it went.

  7. well make the most of it.EEC regulations are coming in banning the killing of these poor haggi.(thats the plural of haggis see) poor wee things are an endangered being serious,did you know that Rutlands Butchers of Melton Constable,my old village here in norfolk,makes and sends huge quantities of haggis every year.where too? Scotland. has won many not keen,i like the leg meat have a great Burns supper,love mort xx

  8. That sounds like a gread Burns supper. Heard of haggis, but still not sure what it is? Have a great weekend. jo

  9. The Burns Supper sounds great. There is an Eastern European food that is very similar, with cow intestines. My grandmother used to make them and they are a real delicacy, though I am sure a very acquired taste. Now, they too are made with casings.
    Between snows I got to the post office this morning -- another storm predicted to start later tonight -- so be on the lookout.
    Love from Buttercup!

  10. Hey honey how are you this cold wintry day. Just thinking about you this morning wishing you were here to share some laughs and hot chocolate with me.
    It is 17 here today which is not good for Texas. We are not use to it like that and our homes or least mine is not suited for it.
    My utility bill was over 500.00 last month and it was not even that cold. I could be in trouble this next billing. haha
    I guess this house is too old to heat and too big.
    Love ya

  11. P.S. Love your sailboat picture!

  12. Hey honey hope your having a wonderful Sunday.
    Just thinking about you tonight. Hope all is well with you
    Come by and enter my new giveaway. It is open world wide.

  13. Hey,
    I’m already following your blog! Really loved it! Very gorgeous!!
    So, could you please follow me, and the blog's twitter? @blogspm
    Well, my blog is in Portuguese but you can comment in English, I’ll understand…
    Thanks a lot!

  14. Oh, thanks for the visit!
    I can try to translate the recipe for you, if you want!
    And, you live the United Kingdom... I lived in London for 7 years! I'm now, 13 years old!!
    If you want the recipe, could you give me your e-mail adress?
    I'll send it to you, translated.
    Thank you

  15. How delightful it all sounds! I'm a fan of Burns' poetry and I've always wanted to try Haggis. I love the sound of pipes played well. I think that I would very much enjoy Burns Day!