Burns Night Edinburgh,
Fri 19 – Sun 28 Jan 2018, various venues.
Burns Night is held on and around 25th January each year in honour of the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns. Many Scots mark the occasion with a dinner known as a Burns Supper, at which guests eat a traditional Scottish meal of haggis neeps and tatties, drink Scotch whisky and recite Burns’ poetry. Burns Suppers range from organised formal dinners with a Toast Master and Piper to small celebrations hosted at home.
Often the diners will end their Burns Supper with a traditional dance called a Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee). This is a great way to celebrate all things Scottish! There are lots of dances, marches, reels and jigs to enjoy, such as ‘Strip The Willow’, ‘The Gay Gordons’ and ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’. The band call out the moves as you go, so it doesn’t matter whether you know the dances or not.
Burns Night Suppers, Ceilidhs and Events
In Edinburgh, there are many organised Burns Night celebrations to join. They range from special Burns Night meals to full Burns Suppers with entertainment. There are also plenty of family shows and other events to enjoy. Here’s what’s planned for 2018:
- The Ghillie Dhu Rabbie Burns Experience (19 – 28 Jan)
- Burns Unbound at NMS (21 Jan)
- Cafe Ceilidh Burns Celebration (23 Jan)
- The Stand Burns Night Comedy Special (24 Jan)
- Supper with Burns (24 – 25 Jan)
- Prestonfield Burns Night (25 Jan)
- Wedgewood Burns Supper (25 Jan)
- Burns Night at The Granary (25 Jan)
- Whiski Rooms Burns Night Supper (25 Jan)
- Whiski Bar Burns Night (25 Jan)
- Malmaison Burns Night Whisky Pairing (25 – 26 Jan)
- Annasach’s Burns Night Ceilidh (25 – 27 Jan)
- Red Red Rose Street Festival (25 – 27 Jan)
- Burns Unbroke: Contemporary Arts Festival (25 Jan – 10 Mar)
- Burns Night Bash at Dunstane House (26 Jan)
- Burns at Mary King’s Close (26 Jan)
- Keara Murphy: The Bard and I (26 Jan)
- Lauriston Hall Burns Ceilidh (26 – 27 Jan)
- Contini Burns Supper and Ceilidh (26 – 27 Jan)
- Britannia Burns Supper (26 – 27 Jan)
- SMWS Burns Night in the Society (27 Jan)
- The Stand Burns Night Comedy Special (28 Jan)
Hold your own Burns Night
If you choose to hold your own Burns Night, you can make it as formal or informal as you like. Make sure you have the following elements covered for a great Burns Supper.
- Music – Traditional bagpipe music is used to welcome the guests to the table. You could hire a Piper for the night, or simply play a CD.
- Speakers – A Toast Master formally welcomes the guests and announces each stage of the proceedings. You could hire a professional Toast Master or you could make the announcements yourself. You will also need to choose readers to recite Burns’ poetry, which of course features heavily throughout the evening. It is best to choose readers who can can speak Scots language. Traditionally the ‘Selkirk Grace‘ prayer is read before the meal.
- Haggis – Music starts up again and guests stand as the chef brings the haggis to the table. ‘Address to a Haggis‘ is recited and the haggis is cut. A toast is raised to “The Haggis!” with a dram of whisky. The chef then takes it back to the kitchen to serve up.
- Supper – A traditional Scottish meal follows. Often Cock-a-leekie soup is served as a starter, Haggis, neeps and tatties as a main, and Cranachan for dessert. The meal is usually served with wine, beer and whisky.
- Entertainment – The evening continues with a series of speeches, Burns’ songs and poetry readings. Popular songs include Tam O’Shanter and A Red, Red Rose. The main speeches are; The Immortal Memory, Toast to the Lassies and The Lassies’ Reply.
- Finale – To end the night, the host thanks the guests and everyone involved in the event. Everyone joins hands to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne‘.