On the fifth anniversary of Robert Burns' death nine
Ayrshire gentlemen sat down in Alloway to what is now regarded as the
first ever Burns Supper. The assembled dined on good Scottish fayre and
haggis. They recited the 'Address to a Haggis' and drunk several
The company agreed to meet in January of the next year
to commemorate the poet's birth and so evolved the custom of Burns
Suppers held annually on 25th January.
A Burns Supper is the annual celebratory tribute to the
life, works and spirit of Robert Burns can take many forms - from serious,
formal gatherings to drunken ceilidhs but would not be authentic without
the traditional dish of haggis.
The Supper will include an 'Address to a Haggis', a
speech - 'The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns, a 'Toast to the
Lassies', a reply from the 'Lassies', recitations and songs of
Burns. All Burns Suppers attempt to recreate the magic of Burns washed
down by Scotland's national drink - whisky.
The world's first Burns club was founded in Greenock
in 1801. Hundreds of Burns clubs throughout the world annually mark the
The formal procedure for the 'Address to a Haggis'
would be for a piper to lead the procession carrying the haggis to the
dinner table. The cook would carry the haggis on a hot dish followed by
the person entrusted with the recitation. After the address all three
would be offered a glass of whisky and everyone would stand to toast
Even if you do not have a resident piper you are
invited to join in this celebration. No matter how small your gathering
take time to address the haggis. If you have no volunteers, pass the verse
around and have everyone participate for a verse.
During the third verse, at line two the person
addressing the haggis would insert a knife into the top of the haggis,
breaking open the haggis and releasing the steam and 'reek'. Scoop out
the haggis and enjoy what has become Scotland's national dish served
with mashed potatoes and turnip.