Legend has it that the first Burns Supper was held in July 1801, initially a somewhat sombre affair marking the anniversary of Robert Burns’ death. During this night, nine of his closest friends enjoyed haggis and performed poetry at Burns’ cottage in Alloway. It was such a success they decided to have it again the following year. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and the tradition of celebrating his vibrant and successful life on his January birthday is a beloved event across the globe. The spirit of Burns celebrations are often unrivaled, and they aren’t always just a simple, meticulous recital of poetry and speeches. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Burns events across Scotland and beyond for 2017.
A Night with The Chieftain, Bon Vivant Bar, Edinburgh- 25th January
Have you ever had the craving for a haggis-infused cocktail? No? Regardless, you’ll be able to sample this unique concoction, dubbed ‘The Chieftain’, at the Bon Vivant Bar in Edinburgh as Glen Grant Whisky introduce their creation for one night only. Inspired by the traditional Burns Supper and the Bard’s very own creativity, you’ll be able to enjoy this haggis, neeps and tatties infused whisky in glass coated with -you guessed it- haggis. Drink up!
Tam O’ Shanter: Telling the Big Tale, Scottish Storytelling Centre Edinburgh- 20th January
If you find yourself unable to celebrate on the day itself, the Scottish Storytelling centre are offering a whole host of events to showcase the life and works of Burns. This event will be hosted by Donald Smith as he attempts to unravel the meaning behind the Bard’s lengthy tale whilst reciting it. Find out more and book your tickets here.
Revel with Rabbie, Stirling Castle- 22nd January
Stirling Castle delivers yet another fantastic event to celebrate Scottish culture and heritage. You’ll be able to learn about Burns Night traditions from past to present, discover how to properly address the haggis and enjoy a dram (if you’re old enough!) and a bite to eat as part of your ticket price. This event is included in the general admission price for visiting the castle, and you can book tickets here.
Burns Night Ceilidh at Glen Mhor, Inverness – 28th January
If you’re looking for a more traditional Burns knees-up. the Glen Mhor hotel are putting on a spectacular supper and ceilidh 8-til-late. The night is particularly special as the hotel will donate a percentage of their proceeds from the night to The South African Children’s Charitable Trust, meaning your ‘Dashing White Sergeant’ will go even further than up and down the dance floor. For more information visit here.
Haggis Hooly and Burns Supper- Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Ayr- 20th/25th
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum will be hosting many events to celebrate the Bard’s Birthday including these two fun-filled evenings. The Haggis Hooly on the 20th is a family-friendly event hosting an informal Burns Supper and a variety of talented Scottish musicians. The Burns Supper on the 25th will be a formal fundraising event, the night promising pipers, toasts, recitals and a lively dance to finish off the night. You can find out more and book your place here.
And for those Scots gone global…
As with St. Andrews Day, Scots across the globe are making their presence heard by celebrating Burns Day loudly. From Chicago to Toronto, across Cyprus and Singapore, Burns will be fondly remembered through ceilidhs, suppers and festivals throughout the month.
Image by Chris Cairns.