PHOTOS: What Goes On at a Burns Night Supper?

Robert Burns, the Bard of Ayshire, is recognized as the national poet of Scotland. Burns may not be a household name in the U.S. but you will recognize his famed poem, called “Auld Lang Syne”, which has been set to music and sung when the clock strikes midnight, kicking off the New Year, with the first line being, “Should Old Acquaintance be forgot …” His life and work is celebrated with an annual supper on, or close to, his birthday on January 25.

Let’s get to know Robert Burns a bit more and what goes on during the Burns Night Supper below:

(Wiki)

Robert Burns lived a short life, passing away at the age of 37 on July 21, 1796. (Wiki)

(VisitScotland)

Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland. (VisitScotland)

(Wiki)

We can picture Burns walking across Brig O’Doon bridge in Alloway. (Wiki)

(VS)

Burns wrote at this desk in Dumfries, Scotland. (VS)

(NLS)

His handwriting was just as fluid as his words. Here’s a page from his poem “The Battle of Sherra-moor” or “On the Battle of Sheriff-Muir”.(NLS)

No paper, no problem. Burns turned to a glass window in his local pub and wrote out a short poem. (VS)

No paper, no problem. Burns turned to a glass window in his local pub, the Globe Inn, in Dumfries, and wrote out a short poem. (VS)

The Selkik Grace is said before the supper begins. (XX)

The Selkik Grace is said before the supper begins. (THJP)

The suppers vary but it's common to kick off the meal with a Scotch broth. (SoupChick)

The suppers vary but it’s common to kick off the meal with a Scotch broth. (SoupChick)

(COW)

A Scottish piper leads in the head table and Haggis. (COW)

Burns' "Address to Haggis" is read before the main course comes out which is ... (St. Andrews)

Burns’ “Address to Haggis” is read before the main course is served. (St. Andrews)

Jason Waddleton addresses the Haggis at The Haven in Jamaica Plain, MA. The Haven hosts six Burns Suppers over four nights; and sells approximately 100 Haggis "takeaway" for people to host their own suppers. (Sarah Ganzhom)

Jason Waddleton addresses the Haggis at The Haven in Jamaica Plain, MA. The Haven hosts six Burns Suppers over four nights this week; and sells approximately 100 Haggis “takeaway” for people to host their own suppers. (Sarah Ganzhom)

The suppers range in formality ... this is a formal address to the haggis. (Nick Wood/Robert Harding /AP Images)

The “Address to Haggis” is accompanied by a whiskey toast. (Nick Wood/Robert Harding /AP Images)

Haggis is a meat and oatmeal mixture cooked in a casing. It might be served with sides like mashed potatoes. (XX)

Haggis isn’t as off-putting as it may look at first. The Scottish delicacy is a meat and oatmeal mixture cooked in a casing. It might be served with sides like mashed potatoes. (Macbeth’s)

(YouTube)

The supper is followed by words honoring Robert Burns and a special toast thanking the “lassies” for preparing the food (which is tradition but not always). (YouTube)

The night doesn't end with the supper, (Scottish Connection)

The night doesn’t end there; supper is followed by Scottish line dancing. (Scots Connection)

(LDE)

The evening closes down with guests singing Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne”. (LDE)

Happy Birthday Robert Burns—thank you for your words!

See More:
10 British Things About Your U.S. City
Twelve Notable (And Slightly Odd) Versions of Auld Lang Syne
Shakespeare Day: In Honor of the Bard of Avon