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How To Celebrate Burns Night

Updated on November 12, 2014

Celebrating Robbie Burns Night

Fans of Robbie Burns, Scotland's foremost poet, often love to host love Burns Night suppers! Do you celebrate Burns Night? Are you looking for some nice Burns Night invitations or a Selkirk Grace plate? Robbie Burns is a Scottish icon! Although born in England I am proud of my Scottish ancestry and as a poet of sorts, I admire his poems and songs too.

Image of Robbie Burns is in the Public Domain and used under free licence from wikimedia

I adore Scotland, particularly the Highlands where I lived in the early 1980s. Scots both expat and resident honour Robert Burns each year in January with Burns Supper celebrations at which traditional food is eaten, poetry is sung and recited and of course the poet Robert Burns is toasted with whisky.

Robert Burns himself was a great character, an exciseman and a farmer and he was a prolific dialect poet. This makes his poetry all the more special to Scotland. I feel a special resonance with Robert Burns, not least because I too have to work for my living and cannot be a full time Bard!

How We Celebrate Robbie Burns Night - Robert Burns Supper, Lincoln Style


This year, as in previous years, Tadpole has been asked to "dirk the haggis". As master of ceremonies he will recite the Address to a Haggis as it is piped into the room. Sadly the pipes will be on CD, but the dirk will not. He has been practising reciting the poem in dialect for many weeks and will do so by heart!

Ironically, Tadpole is a strict vegetarian, so although he will recite the Ode and "Dirk the Haggis" (plunge a sharp knife into the haggis so it spills out!) he will be eating vegetarian haggis only.

Haggis, both traditional and vegetarian, will be served with champit tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (mashed carrot, turnip and swede) and accompanied by a glass of uisge-beatha - the water of life - whisky!

We will recite more of Burns' poems and I shall sing a couple of his songs.

Burns Night Invitation, cards and other Robert Burns themed gifts are all available in our Zazzle shop.

See below.

Robbie Burns Plate - Selkirk Grace


My Love is like a Red Red Rose

Traditional Melody - Low Down in the Broom

Here is the free sheet music (melody and guitar TAB) for My Love is Like A Red Red Rose. All you have to do is click on the guitar. You can play this melody on any instrument.

A Red Red Rose


To listen to an MP3 of my arrangement for Flute and classical guitar or purchase sheet music for it you need to click on the link below.

Robert Burns To A Mouse Poetry Card

To A Mouse Rabbie Burns Poem Card

This design incorporates the full Robert Burns poem, To A Mouse as well as another of Tadpole's cute cartoons!

Robert Burns To A Mouse Poetry Card by Persimew


Robert Burns... Poems and Songs

Burns Night Celebrations - Songs and Poems of Robert Burns

Here you can enjoy these wonderful and timeless poems and songs on video and have your own virtual Burns Night!

Talk not of Love

Everything You Wanted To Know About Robert Burns - But were too shy to ask

Some random facts to start you off. Robbie Burns was an extremely prolific poet and songwriter. He liked life, he loved women and he enjoyed his whisky too! A farmer, he augmented his living with a 40 per annum salary as an exciseman, chasing smugglers and collecting duties! Gives a whole new meaning to The De'ils Awa' Wi' the Exciseman, doesn't it? He died tragically young as a result of rheumatic fever. Next to Shakespeare Robert Burns is probably the most loved, respected and quoted british poet!

The de'ils awa wi' the exciseman

Auld Lang Syne

Hunting For The Haggis - What is a Haggis? Myth and Reality...

The myth of the haggis is that it is a flightless bird living in the Highlands of Scotland. It scratches a living all around the blooming heather but is easily outwitted and caught. It has one leg longer than the other in order to run more quickly around the mountain, but if frightened by beaters it will change direction and lose its balance thus tumbling down the hill into the arms of waiting Haggis Hunters....

The truth is more prosaic....

To a Haggis

Scots Wha Hae

To A Mouse - Robert Burns

On turning her up in her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785

One of Robert Burns' most delightful poems is To A Mouse. It shows great thought and insight and the imagery he conjures is lovely!.

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie,

O, what panic's in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi' bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,

Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion

Has broken Nature's social union,

An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle,

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;

What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!

A daimen-icker in a thrave

'S a sma' request:

I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,

An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!

It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!

An' naething, now, to big a new ane,

O' foggage green!

An' bleak December's winds ensuin,

Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,

An' weary Winter comin fast,

An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell,

Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,

Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!

Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,

But house or hald.

To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,

An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,

Gang aft agley,

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!

The present only toucheth thee:

But Och! I backward cast my e'e,

On prospects drear!

An' forward, tho' I canna see,

I guess an' fear!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin by Persimew


To a Mouse

Thy Wee Bit Housie Mousepad - Robbie Burns To A Mouse Mousepad


Robert Burns Supper

I look forward to the celebration and have found that Sainsbury's and Waitrose both do excellent vegetarian Haggis as well as the more traditional variety. I shall enjoy mashing the neaps with butter and salt and fresh ground pepper. Food intolerance means I have to forgo the champit tatties, but I shall certainly enjoy my wee dram in honour of Robert Burns!

I hope you will too!

Will you be Celebrating Burns Night? - Have you tried Haggis and Neaps on Rabbie Burns Day?

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    • IanTease profile image

      IanTease 3 years ago

      You've inspired me. Going to invite my mother round for a proper Burns' supper this year. Great lens

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

      Well of course we love a good Burns night celebration! my daughter is singing My Love is like a Red Red Rose for her burns Supper at School!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My mother in law is from Scotland so Robbie Burns is best loved in the family.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      we live near Mont-Tremblant, Quebec and will be hosting our 3rd annual Burns Supper at our wee B&B ... we limit it to 12 friends - this year including a real live Scotsman to address the haggis! We serve both trad and veg haggis. Next year we plan to host a bigger event in larger premises as demand is definitely outweighing the current number of seats available! stickin'oot laddie!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 5 years ago from Perth UK

      I'll be doing the address to the haggis in a couple of weeks. I feel quite inspired.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      What a great lens! I have featured it on my new Cranachan lens- hope this is OK. Blessed, and a Happy New Year and Burns Night to you.

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      Just questing for a patriotic lens, and here it is!

    • profile image

      Geeve 6 years ago

      And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!

      And gie's a hand o' thine!

      And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,

      For auld lang syne. And Robbie Burns :) Blessed

    • MJSchrader profile image

      MJSchrader 7 years ago

      This has been very very interesting!! So cool to learn about Burns night

    • auntjennie profile image

      Jen 7 years ago from Canada

      Never heard of Burns night before. Thanks for the introduction.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      I think I may have heard of him, but I really didn't know anything about him. Thanks for the information. Great lens! :)

    • profile image

      yourgoldenfuture 7 years ago

      interesting... never heard of him before

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      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.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I was raised in Scotland so I love Burns Night - and the haggis! Don't indulge in the whisky any more, but I do love the poetry. Thanks for reminding me about the wee tim'rous beastie! Blessed.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Delightful story. I wasn't familiar with 'Burns Night', so enjoyed learning about it.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      A wonderful lens and you had me with that first mention of the "tim'rous beastie" which is just such a wonderful phrase. Scotland has a very special place in my heart and here's to you my friend and Mr Burns! Slangevar!