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A Scottish Tradition - Burns Night

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Monday 25 January is a famous Scottish tradition which celebrates the life and poetry of Robert Burns. 

Traditionally, fellow Scots around the world celebrate this with a Burns supper consisting of Haggis, Neeps (Turnip) and Tatties (potatoes) and work it off after by holding a ceilidh (Scottish dancing).

Reminiscing back to school days, I remember having to remember and recite Burns' poems for school competitions with the winners from each schools going head to head across the districts (shown further below in this blog) - something that my English colleagues find bizarre!

Some interesting facts about Robert Burns and Burns Celebrations; 

• After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure

• A miniature book of his poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two-week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7 million mile round trip and 217 orbits of the earth

• ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For has a jolly good fellow’

• Robert Burns was the first ever person to appear on a commemorative bottle of Coca-Cola in 2009

• Authentic Scottish haggis is banned from the US. This dates back to 1971, when their Department of Agriculture took issue with one of haggis’ key ingredients – sheep’s lung. 

To introduce everyone to the Burns Dinner, the Selkirk Grace will be spoken:

“Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit."

Following this, the Haggis will then be addressed by the piper as the chef enters with the Haggis which is then paraded ceremoniously through the guests as they celebrate its arrival with a slow round of applause.

The Haggis will then be placed in front of the host for them to recite the Burns poem “To a Haggis” –

"His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!"

A large knife is then plunged into the Haggis and drams (glasses of whiskey) are raised and downed in a gulp to start the celebrations.

This year, Burns Night celebrations will be, undoubtedly, scaled back, but it's still important to mark this special Scottish tradition.

If you look on our social media, there is a video of my father, Colin Walker, who is a very accomplished bagpiper and passionate Scotsman!. You can see him on Facebook here, Instagram here or LinkedIn here    

I am currently recruiting for a number of roles here at Service Care Solutions, if you would like to find out more, please contact us here
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