Poems are undoubtedly part of cultural heritage, but can you guys imagine celebrating a poet?
Well, for Scots, January 25 ushers in celebrations that honour the life and work of their national poet, Robert Burns. The celebration is called Burns Night.
Why is Robert Burns such a big deal?
Robert Burns, or Rabbie Burns as he is known colloquially, is the national poet of Scotland and is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement. Born on January 25, 1759, Burns is best known for his poem Auld Lang Syne, which is typically crooned at New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world.
What should you expect at a Burns Night
While the celebration can take many forms, the most orthodox version is grand and ceremonious.
If you have been invited, expect to be welcomed by the rousing cries of bagpipes. Once everyone is seated, the host delivers a welcome speech.
And then….the food.
For an authentic Burns Night experience, three things are a must.
A soup course like Cullen skink, Haggis, and Scotch Whisky.
Here’s the kicker.
The haggis course is an elaborate process in itself. Led by a Bagpiper, the meat dish is brought in by the chef. Following this, the host or a guest will recite Robert Burns’ Address to a Haggis (A love letter about Haggis by the man himself).
Before you can feast on the haggis though, it will be cut with a ceremonial knife.
All through the meal, you can expect to hear many toasts, speeches, and Burns’ poems.
Finally, the host will call on one of the guests to give a vote of thanks. Then, everyone is asked to stand, join hands, and sing “Auld Lang Syne” to bring the evening to an end.
I still have no clue what Haggis is…
It is a minced mix of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs combined with onion, mutton fat, oatmeal, and a variety of spices – all encased in the sheep’s stomach. It’s cooked (thankfully) and typically served with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes).
It’s tastier than it sounds.
So where will 150 odd Scots celebrate Burns Night in UAE?
Spearheaded by the online community, Scots in Dubai, a Burns Super will be held on Saturday (January 29) at Seafire Steakhouse, Atlantis the Palm. Unfortunately, the registrations are closed. So until then, enjoy this highlight video from the last one.