Burns Night… it’s likely you’ll have heard of it, but do you really know what it’s all about? If not, you’re missing out on quite the treat – so here is the reason why Scots (and, increasingly, others) celebrate Burns Night every January.

Robert Burns (or Rabbie Burns, or the Bard of Ayrshire) was a Scottish poet who lived from 1759 until 1796. He was born on 25th January, and now, to commemorate his life, Burns Night takes place every year. It’s more than ‘just’ a celebration of a great poet (who just so happens to be the man who wrote ‘Auld Lang Syne’); Burns Night is also when Scots can celebrate their other national treasure – haggis. One of the most famous of all Burns Night traditions is for those about to enjoy their haggis, neeps and tatties (swede and potatoes) to first recite the opening lines of Burns’ poem, ‘Address To A Haggis’ which goes: Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great Chieftain o' the Puddin-race!

If you’re planning on livening up a dark January evening with a Burns Night celebration, you might like these ideas for the top things you can do:

A Big Family Get Together

Burns Night is a great excuse to get friends and family together, to enjoy a feast and swap stories. There are only a handful of other times in the year when this happens for most people, so grab the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.

Cook A Burns’ Supper


The traditional Burns’ Supper includes the aforementioned haggis, neeps, and tatties. Both the neeps and the tatties should be mashed, and the whole thing should be served with a whisky sauce or gravy. Get your Haggis neeps and tatties pack in preparation for the day here

Speaking of whisky - a true favourite of ours here at Fine Scottish Hampers - a bottle should be on the table at all times (perfect for toasting the speeches that will come up later on). Shop our delicious collection of whiskies, perfect for any occasion here

For dessert, you can have a tipsy laird (a whisky based trifle) or a cranachan (a whipped cream, whisky, honey, oats, and raspberry combination) and don’t forget to say the Selkirk Grace before you begin.



Before, during, and after the meal (depending on how you want your evening to go) you’ll need to give speeches. The first is a toast to Rabbie himself. The next, a toast to the lasses, and finally a reply to the lads. It’s all in good fun and there are no real rules for these speeches. It’s best to keep them funny and short though (good advice no matter what the occasion). After the speeches are done, you’ll read Burns’ poems, and perhaps even sing Auld Lang Syne.

Get Dressed Up

If there is a more perfect an occasion to don a kilt and sporran, or some form of tartan garb then we don’t know what it is. Get dressed in traditional Scottish clothing and, if you’re feeling particularly keen you can even hire a piper for the evening. Just don’t forget to feed them!


Post By Laura Nugent

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