How to Celebrate Burns Night at Home

Every year on January 25th we celebrate Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. In a normal year, restaurants, pubs and clubs host great Burns Night events, with traditional Burns suppers, Ceilidh bands, singing and dancing. But 2021 had other plans… Nonetheless, we can still host a great Burns Night at home and here is how.  

Turn in to a virtual event 

While physical Burns Night events won’t be taking place this year, a fantastic variety of virtual gigs are streaming instead. Just pitch up your phone, tablet or laptop in your living room and tune in. The 10th edition of the Big Burns Supper – Scotland’s biggest Burns celebration that usually take place in Dumfries –  will be staged online on the 25th and hosted by comedian Janey Godley. If you want to begin your Burns celebrations a little earlier, the National Trust for Scotland’s Burns Big Night In event will take place on the 23rd and will feature lots of music by Scottish bands. 

Make your own Burns Supper 

It’s not Burns Night without a Burns Supper. For starters, cock-a-leekie and Scotch broth is a popular choice. Haggis, neeps and tatties is the centre-piece of a traditional Burns Supper, a meal Robert Burns described as the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’. You can find our haggis, neeps and tatties recipe here. Dessert is usually Cranachan, a traditional Scottish sweet made with fresh raspberries and cream, served with Scottish oats and whisky. If you really want to throw a proper Burns Supper, don’t forget to address and toast to the haggis!  

Pour a dram or two 

If there’s anything as equally as Scottish as Robert Burns, it’s whisky! Malt whisky is the usual choice of drink on Burns Night, so pour yourself a dram or two to enjoy with your supper or to relax with by the fire. We recommend Lagavulin, Laphroaig or Talisker.  

Play a Scottish music playlist 

A traditional formal Burns Night event will always have Scottish music playing in the background, whether it’s from a band or just a playlist. You could tune into a virtual event to get your music fix from Scottish singers and bands. The Big Burns Supper will feature music from KT Tunstall, Dougie MacLean, plus more. Or, create your very own Scottish playlist, so you don’t miss out any of your favourite Scottish anthems.  

Recite Burns’ poems 

Finally, since we are celebrating Robert Burns, it’s only right to recite some of his famous poems. ‘The Selkirk Grace’ and ‘Address to a Haggis’ are the traditional recitals of a Burns evening. ‘The Selkirk Grace’ is used as a grace prayer often said before the meal. Burns wrote ‘Address to a Haggis’ to celebrate his appreciation for haggis, so this poem is usually said just before tucking into the haggis. A formal Burns Night ends with a rendition of Auld Land Syn, perhaps one of Burns’ most famous work known worldwide. What is your favourite Burns poem? 

It doesn’t need to be January 25th to celebrate Rabbie Burns, our ‘In the Footsteps of Robert Burns’ package is perfect all year round. This tour explores Ayrshire, the area of the poet’s early years, and also around Dumfries where he eventually lived, and then returns to Edinburgh, the city that first feted him as a literary sensation. Contact us today to speak to one of our travel experts.  

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