Burns Night – Celebrate Scotland’s Favourite Son with a Luxury Food Hamper
Known across the country as ‘Scotland’s favourite son’, Robert Burns is one of the most celebrated poets in history. As a result of his enduring popularity, Scots celebrate his life and achievements every year with a tradition known as Burns Night, or Robert Burns Day. On Burns’ birthday, 25thJanuary, suppers are held in celebration, with a whole range of different traditions having been passed down through generations spanning centuries. Families and groups of friends share luxury food hampers and exquisite meals, featuring Scottish delicacies such as haggis; Burns actually wrote a poem about the dish named ‘Address to a Haggis’, so consuming it on this day is a tribute to him.
The very first Burns suppers were held in Ayrshire towards the end of the 18thcentury, when Burns’ actual friends gathered on the anniversary of his death. This meeting continued every year until the first ‘Burns club’ was founded in 1801; The Mother Club. Some of the merchants who founded this club had known Burns personally and wished to celebrate his life and work on an annual basis. They began to hold their yearly Burns suppers on what they believed to be his birthday, January 29th, before they discovered from parish records that his birthday actually fell four days earlier on January 25th.
Nowadays, Burns Night suppers can be held as formal or informal occasions. Organisations such as the Freemasons or St Andrews Societies often hold dinners or formal events, whilst many families and communities gather in homes and local venues. There is a traditional running order to these events, starting with a gathering and general mixing of all guests. Whoever is hosting the event the welcomes everyone to the supper with a short speech before guests are seated and grace is said. This is traditionally the ‘Selkirk Grace’, which has been attributed to Burns in the past.
The supper itself normally begins with a soup course; traditional Scottish soups, mostly. Scotch broth and potato soup are among the most popular. Then, the main event and the main course is brought in. Everyone stands as the main course, usually haggis on a huge dish, makes its entrance. Bagpipes are played, usually ‘Robbie Burns Medley’ or ‘A man’s a man for a’ that’, and the haggis is laid on the host’s table.
Now, at formal occasions someone who is a very good public speaker, or even an actor, recites ‘Address to a Haggis’. Often the highlight of the evening, the speech ends with the speaker cutting open the haggis from end to end ready for guests to enjoy. Various toasts and speeches occur after the meal has finished, with more of Burns’ work read and some of his songs sung. Auld Lang Syne brings the evening to an end, with all guests joining hands as is the tradition.
Those celebrating at home might choose to adopt a more informal approach, without the speeches or the readings. A traditional Scottish food hamper is a prime way to celebrate, with cured meats, delicious sweet treats, specially selected wines and beers and of course, the traditional haggis. These hampers can be shared around large groups of twenty or thirty, or simply enjoyed with an intimate gathering of four or five. Food is one of the most important aspects of the Burns Night celebrations, and so it is important that as much of it as possible of locally produced and sourced, and is of a high-quality.
The products in these luxury hampers come from some of Scotland’s biggest names as well as some of the country’s best kept secrets, and they make the perfect accompaniment to a night of celebrating with a Burns Night supper.
To browse the entire collection of luxury gift hampers and order online visit http://www.scottishhampers.co.uk/ or call 0845 834 0086.