Address to a Basking Shark – Happy Burns Day!
Jan 24 2020
What is Burns Day?
Scotland’s National Bard, Rabbie Burns is celebrated on his birthday, the 25th of January each year. It has been celebrated since 1801, five years after his death.
Who is Rabbie Burns?
Robert Burns (Rabbie) was born on the 25th of January 1759 in Ayr, Scotland and was a poet, now regarded as Scotland’s National Poet. Some of his most famous work is Auld Lang Syne (often sung on New Year’s Eve around the world), A Red, Red Rose and Tam o’ Shanter – a terrific story about a farmer who gets drunk every night, much to his wife’s disgust, who sees a coven of witches and warlocks dancing and is chased by them on his horse Meg. The witches catch Meg by the tail and pull it off, just as Tam escapes!
How do you celebrate Burn’s Night?
Usually with a Burn’s supper consisting of Haggis, neeps (turnips) & tatties (potatoes) yum! We always add a whisky cream sauce too!
It can be a grand affair with full Highland dress, reciting of Burns’ poetry and Highland dancing or a more casual, understated family affair at home with food, friends, whisky & Irn Bru. There is a set of traditions followed at a proper Burns’ Supper:
Piping in the guests
The guests are welcomed in by a bagpiper.
A welcome from the host
The host will give a short speech, welcoming the guests
Reciting Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Piping in the Haggis
All the guests stand up as the cooked haggis is brought in on a platter by the chef, led by the bagpiper. It is then placed in front of the host on the table.
Address Tae A Haggis
Burns’ famous poem is recited by the host. The host will plunge a knife into the haggis to cut it open from end to end as he says the line “An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht” which means “ and cut you up with practiced skill”. The host then proposes a toast to the haggis with Scottish Single Malt Whisky and the meal is served.
Address to the Lassies
A male guest will give thanks to the lassies (ladies) for their help in preparing the event. Over the years, people have become more creative and this speech is typically really funny and tongue-in-cheek in nature.
Reply to the Laddies
Then the girls have the right to reply and get the last word! A female guest will give a humorous speech in return, giving her opinion on the laddies (men).
Poetry by Burns
A selection of Burns’ work is recited by various guests.
Auld Lang Syne
The song, famous around the world is sung by the guests at the close of the ceremony.
We’ve mixed things up a bit here at Basking Shark Scotland! On Burns’ Night, we also like to celebrate our favourite big fish – the mighty Cearban! It’s written by Luke Saddler, our Head Guide for many years, in traditional Scots – see if you can figure out what it means!