In August 1787, Robert Burns left Stirling and
travelled to Highland Perthshire, visiting
(at Kenmore), he then composed 'The Birks of Aberfeldy' while
standing under the falls of Moness, Abefeldy. At Dunkeld he saw the
ruined cathedral and Dunkeld House. At Killiecrankie Robert Burns
composed the popular and memorable song, 'The Braes of
, at Blair Atholl, he was received in Blair
Castle by the Duke and Duchess of Atholl.
Burns suppers in Highland Perthshire
A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry
of the poet Robert Burns, also known as Rabbie Burns, (25
January 1759 - 21 July 1796) Scotland's favourite son, the
Ploughman Poet, widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland,
Burns suppers in Highland Perthshire
(check the events
page in December and Jaunaury for details)
are normally held on or near the Robert Burns's birthday,
25 January, also known as Burns Night. Each year there are
variety of Burns Suppers organized many are open the public and
welcome visitors. They can be formal or informal, so before going
it is a good idea to ask the format and choose one you are
comfortable with, having said this your role as a visitor, will be
to enjoy the night's entertainment, food and drink.
A typically Highland Perthshire Burns suppers includes
haggis, neeps (neep is short for turnip) and tatties
(potatoes), dersert (often trifle), Scotch whisky, and the
recitation of Burns's poetry. The dress or clothes you need to wear
again depends on the type of Burns Supper you are attending, the
many informal events, people will turn up in casual wear, with a
bit of tartan in some cases.
Every Burns Supper has its own special form and
flavour, though there are more similarities than
differences with small differences catering for individual tastes
and talents. Some may contribute the composition of original songs
or poems; some may excel at giving toasts or reciting verse; while
others may be captivating storytellers.
The first suppers were held in memory of Rabert Burns
by his friends on 21 July, the anniversary of his death. This then changed to be held on what was thought
was his birthday, 29 January 1802, but in
discovered in Ayr parish records that his date of birth was 25
January 1759. Since then, suppers have been held on 25
Burns Supper format can vary but usually
- Piping in the guests - A big-time Burns Night
calls for a piper to welcome guests.
- Chairman's welcome - warmly welcomes and
introduces the assembled guests and the evening's
- Piping in the haggis - Guests should normally
stand to welcome the dinner's star attraction, the haggis. During
the procession, guests clap in time to the music until the Haggis
reaches its destination at the table. The music stops and everyone
is seated in anticipation of the address 'To a Haggis'.
- Address to the haggis - The rendition of 'To a
Haggis' written by Robert Burns. The recital ends with the reader
raising the haggis in triumph during the final line 'Gie her a
haggis!', which the guests greet with rapturous applause.
- Toast to the haggis - Prompted by the speaker,
the audience now joins in the toast to the haggis. Raise a glass
and shout: The haggis! Then it's time to serve the meal.
- The meal - Haggis, neeps & tatties (Haggis
wi' bashit neeps an' champit tatties) followed by a desert.
- After the meal, the first entertainment often
it will be a singer or musician performing Burns songs
alternatively it could be a moving recital of a Burns poem.
- The immortal memory - The life of Robert
Burns: his literary genius, his politics, his highs and lows, his
human frailty, painting a colourful picture of Scotland's beloved
- Toast to the Lassies - The humorous highlight
of any Burns Night comes in this toast, which is designed to praise
the role of women in the world today. Particular reference to those
present makes for a more meaningful toast. The toast concludes: To
- Reply to the Toast to the Lassies - Revenge
for the women present as they get their chance to reply often
poking fun at the menfolk and men in general.
Followed by more Burns
songs and poems with
many excellent performers in Highland