A Burns Supper is a traditional celebration held by Scots to honor Robert [Rabbie] Burns (1759 to 1796), their most famous poet.
Suppers have been held regularly since a few years after Burns’ death, first by a few close friends but more recently by Scots generally and, indeed, by admirers across the world. Burns Suppers can be large and elaborate or small and intimate.
There are, however, a few essential ingredients which are included in a Burns Supper programe.
Every Burns Supper includes Haggis. Haggis is “poor men’s food” and therefore tasty – after all, the poor men had to learn how to cook well if the rich men took all the ‘best bits’. It is traditionally served with mashed ‘neeps’ [lanttumuusi] and mashed ‘tatties’ [perunamuusi].
The supper also follows a traditional programme. This can be very elaborate, or quite simple. There are always (at least!) four recitations or speeches:
In addition it is usual to recite or perform a selection of Burn’s poetry or songs (for he was a prolific song writer and collector too).
The object of the Supper, besides commemorating a great poet and his contribution to civilisation, is one of which he would heartily approve --- to enjoy ourselves in good company.