Robert Burns Day: Haggis, Anyone?

Robert Burns, Ayr, Scotland. Photochrom by Detroit Publishing Company, between 1890 and 1900.

“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!”

(Robert Burns, Address To A Haggis)

I hope you’ve already begun preparing your Burns Supper, because today is Robert Burns Day, and it takes several hours to make a proper haggis! If the prospect of dinner cooked in a sheep’s stomach does not appeal, maybe you could just enjoy the traditional sides of neeps and tatties?  (Those are parsnips Swedes – a type of turnip – and potatoes for those of us not as familiar with Scottish cuisine. Updated: Thanks to Martin in the comments for catching my root vegetable mix-up!)

Robert Burns, national poet of Scotland, was born 253 years ago today, and the occasion is marked around the world with readings of his poems, singing of his songs, and yes, drinking Scotch whisky alongside a traditional Burns Supper. Burns died at the young age of 37, but not before producing hundreds of songs and poems. Credited with preserving more than 300 Scottish songs, Burns wrote his own words or set traditional lyrics to new or revised music. In fact, we have Robert Burns to thank for the classic New Year’s Eve song of Auld Lang Syne.

So, fill your glass, don a kilt (if you’ve got one handy) and raise your voice in lyric or verse to celebrate the life of one of Scotland’s favorite sons, Robert Burns!

Scottish-American Journal. Poster, 1878.

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