On our last night with the Calvin students, we got to attend a Robbie Burns supper! It was cultural experience—for me, but mostly for them. I had never attended one before myself, so I found myself thoroughly intrigued by this Scottish tradition that usually happens on 25 January.

The night is used to celebrate the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who’s birthday happens to be on the 25th of January. The meal can be a rather formal affair. It started out with a greeting from our host (someone from the OM team). Then we were seated and grace was said by reading the poem, “Selkirk Grace.” Then we stood again for the presentation of the main course, Haggis. The Haggis is ceremoniously piped in with bagpipes! Burns’ poem, “Address to a Haggis” was read, and at the appropriate time in the poem, he cut into the Haggis.

Image Credit: tjmwatson

Haggis is an interesting Scottish food… It is made of the sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, along with onions, oatmeal, spices and suet. Traditionally it’s prepared in the sheep’s stomach. I didn’t get to try haggis, actually. Being pregnant, liver is a no-no in my diet, so I had Cumberland sausage instead!

After the presentation of the haggis, we ate. Along with our haggis (or sausage) we had neeps and tatties, which are mashed turnips/carrots and mashed potatoes. I’m not certain if this is traditional for a Scottish Burns meal or just a British thing, but we also had gravy.

During the meal, some more Burns poems were read. Not being that into poetry, I never realised how many of the poems that were read were written by Burns!

We were also served a traditional Scottish dessert called cranachan, which was made up of whipped cream, toasted oats, and raspberries and topped with honey.

After the meal, the host gave his thanks to all the people who helped put the night together. Later on, to close the evening, we were asked to stand and sing a couple of verses of “Auld Lang Syne.”

So to close this post on our Robbie Burns supper, I’ll leave you with a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” :)