A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and work of the poet Robert Burns. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet's birthday, 25 January, sometimes also known as Robert Burns Day or Burns Night (Burns Nicht), although they may in principle be held at any time of the year. Burns Suppers are held across the world. Burns suppers are most common in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but occur across the globe wherever there are Burns Clubs, Scottish Societies or expatriate Scots.

Burns suppers may be either formal or informal. Informal suppers typically include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish), Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns' poetry. Formal dinners are hosted by organisations such as the Freemasons or St Andrews Societies. The formal suppers follow a standard format, which starts with the host's welcming speech; then supper starts: everyone stands when the Haggis is brought in; the host then recites Burns' Address to a Haggis; a whisky toast will be proposed to the haggis, then the company will sit and enjoy the meal: tradtionally the haggis is served with neeps and tatties. When the meal reaches the coffee stage various speeches and toasts are given.

Hear Scottish actor John Gordon Sinclair read Address to a Haggis written in 1786 here


Robert Burns
Robert Burns

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