What Is Burns Night And What Does Haggis Have To Do With It?

At least we won't have to chew much.
At least we won't have to chew much.

At least we won't have to chew much.

“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!”

Aye, it’s Burns Night, and we’re fair looking forward sitting down to a supper this evening and maybe even being hurled around a ceilidh.

OK don’t panic –  we’ll do the translating for you.

As HuffPost UK Life’s resident Scot, I’m here to give you the lowdown on what the big deal with Burns Night is and why we scoff haggis, neeps and tatties on it.

First things first, what’s the craic with Big Rabbie B?

Who is Robert Burns?

Robert Burns, also known Rabbie Burns, was a Scottish poet and lyricist – and he is a very big deal here in Scotland. He’s widely regarded as our national poet and is celebrated worldwide for his poems, with bangers by the baird including: Auld Lang Syne, To A Mouse and A Red, Red Rose.

He wasn’t just famous for his poems – Burns was also famed for his drinking and womanising.

So what is a Burns Supper?

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of Rabbie. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday, 25 January, hence why it’s called Burns Night.

Why do we eat haggis on Burns Night?

Robert Burns loved him some haggis – to the point he wrote a poem about it, Address To A Haggis (you’ll find the first line of it at the start of this article).

The poem actually helped popularise the dish and after Rabbie’s death, his pals got together five years on (in 1801) to celebrate his life and they served haggis in his memory.

Haggis is the main event of a Burns Supper – and we don’t do things by a half, we celebrate the dish.

The haggis is generally carried in to the supper on a silver plate at the start of the proceedings and as it is brought to the table a bagpiper will play.

One of the invited artistes then recites the poem, Address To A Haggis, before the theatrical cutting of the haggis with the ceremonial knife.

Told you, it’s a big deal.

Neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) are the traditional side to haggis, which is why we serve them up with it. Looking to create your own Burns Supper? Find out how to here.