Everything you need to know about Burns Night

Everything you need to know about Burns Night

Burns Night is, of course, all about celebrating Scottish poet Robert Burns, whose birthday was 25 January. His most famous work was Auld Lang Syne, which has now become The night has become an event to celebrate Scottish culture as a whole, and has a host of fun traditions to bring cheer to a chilly January evening.

Burns Night traditions

There's a lot to do on Burns Night - from numerous poems to read, to a big meal to eat and plenty of toasts to raise. Our favourite tradition is the piping in of the haggis, which sees the steaming meal brought into the room serenaded by the bagpipes. For a full Burns Night itinerary click here

What's a typical Burns Night menu?

The traditional feast is haggis (vegetarian haggis is also an option these days) with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potato) followed by clootie pudding (sweet dumplings) and - of course - washed down with a wee drab of whisky.

Find traditional recipes for the classic Burns Night supper here

Which poems should be read on Burns Night?

The most important poem is the Toast to a Haggis. Here it is, if you fancy giving it a go!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 

Great chieftain o' the pudding-race! 

Aboon them a' yet tak your place, 

Painch, tripe, or thairm: 

Weel are ye wordy o'a grace 

As lang's my arm. 


The groaning trencher there ye fill, 

Your hurdies like a distant hill, 

Your pin was help to mend a mill 

In time o'need, 

While thro' your pores the dews distil 

Like amber bead. 


His knife see rustic Labour dight, 

An' cut you up wi' ready sleight, 

Trenching your gushing entrails bright, 

Like ony ditch; 

And then, O what a glorious sight, 

Warm-reekin', rich! 


Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive: 

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive, 

Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve 

Are bent like drums; 

Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive, 

Bethankit! hums. 


Is there that owre his French ragout 

Or olio that wad staw a sow, 

Or fricassee wad make her spew 

Wi' perfect sconner, 

Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view 

On sic a dinner? 


Poor devil! see him owre his trash, 

As feckles as wither'd rash, 

His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash; 

His nieve a nit; 

Thro' blody flood or field to dash, 

O how unfit! 


But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, 

The trembling earth resounds his tread. 

Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 

He'll mak it whissle; 

An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned, 

Like taps o' trissle. 


Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, 

And dish them out their bill o' fare, 

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware 

That jaups in luggies; 

But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer 

Gie her a haggis!

As well as the Toast to a Haggis, there's the Toast to the Lassies, the Reply from the Lassies and then the night ends by singing Auld Lang Syne. In between you can add in any poetry or songs that take your fancy.

Download this Robert Burns app and take his poetry out and about with you tonight - people will be so impressed when you break into To a Mouse!