Burns Supper Routine

Piping in the haggis at a Burns Supper

Burns Supper

Burns Supper routine is explained here. Burns Night is held annually across the World on or around 25th January, which is Robert Burns’s birthday. A Burns Supper is a celebration of his poetry, folk songs he collected and his life. His best known work is Auld Lang Syne, song the world over at New Year.

Addressing the haggis at a Burns supper

To a Haggis - you can see the haggis on the table in front of the speaker

You Tube LogoThe Immortal Memory  (11mins 30secs) - a superb speech by Peter Barr of Killiecrankie - original, well researched making it one of the best you will hear anywhere.

You Tube LogoYou Tube Play list of Burns Supper videos

Robert Burns

Robert Burns was born on the 25 January 1759 and died when just 37 years old on 21 July 1796. He grew up in poverty and hardship, the son of a self-educated tenant farmer, in Ayrshire, Southern Scotland. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them.

A celebration of Burns short but colourful life. The supper often includes a haggis, can take any form you want, from a meal for two to a large informal gathering or formal gathering. Some suppers are very formal, with everyone dolled up, others very informal, where everyone wears whatever they are comfortable with.

Burns Supper routine.

The routine for a traditional Burns night will, include drinking alcohol, particularly whisky, with the evening itinerary as follows:-

Reciting Tam O'Shanter at a Burns Supper

Ron Greer with Tam O'Shanter in full stream

  1. Chairman's welcome. The chairman’s job is to introduce the various speakers and performers and keep the evening to schedule.
  2. Piping in the haggis. If you have a piper great, if not choose some pipe music from a CD to bring the haggis in to the room.
  3. Burns’s ‘Address to the haggis’. Have someone read this poem with the haggis being cut open, before serving the meal.
  4. Followed by a ‘Toast to the Haggis’. Everyone upstanding, glass in hand.
  5.  Before eating, ‘The Selkirk Grace’, attributed to Burns, is said.
    The meal often includes haggis, neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes) as main course or starter followed by choice of desserts and tea or coffee.
  6. Toast to the Lasses’ – Robert Burns loved the women. The toast and short speech is given by a man, singing the praises of women, often pointing out their weaker sides too.
  7. ‘Reply from the Lasses', – can be made by the man’s wife, this is where the women often poke fun at the men and all their failings. A good opportunity for a good laugh.

    The haggis ready for a Burns Supper

    The Haggis and one spare for the top table (spare in case one bursts during cooking)

  8. Throughout the evening's program there is entertainment, this can be in the form of songs, sung by performers, or the whole gathering (when song sheets are provided) or tunes associated by Burns are played by accordionists, fiddlers, and indeed pianists. There are often recitals of Burns’s poems, ‘Tam O’Shanter’, and ‘To a Mouse’ are very popular.

The night is first and foremost about enjoying yourselves, while remembering Robert Burns Scotland’s National Poet who so many people identify with.