Thursday, January 25, 2007
Contented wi' Little and Cantie wi' Mair
If you were in Scotland today, you would probably be going to a Burn's Supper tonight. We celebrate the birth of Robert Burns, our national bard, every year on the 25th of January with a big party with good food, speeches, singing and dancing.

You will know many of his poems, even if you don't realise it. You'll have sung one (Auld Lang Syne) just a few weeks ago as you greeted the New Year. Other familiar poems and songs might include To a Mouse from which Of Mice and Men takes its title, My Love is like a Red, Red Rose, and Ae Fond Kiss.

The meal starts with the Selkirk Grace:
Some have meat and cannot eat,
Some can eat that want it:
But we have meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
The menu will include typically Scottish food, probably starting with some cock-a-leekie soup or Scotch broth. The highlight of the evening though is the haggis as it is marched in by the chef led by a bagpiper. The host for the evening will then give the Address to a Haggis, hopefully adding to the ceremony of the occasion by plunging a small knife or sgian dubh into it as he says:
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
I'll let you investigate for yourself what haggis is made from, but, be assured, (and this is coming from someone who was vegetarian for 10 years of her life) that haggis is delicious! It is served with neeps (mashed swedes or turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes). For dessert, cranachan, clootie dumpling or oatcakes and cheese might be served, followed by the national drink, whisky.

The evening continues with speeches - The Immortal Memory remembering Burns' life or work and the Toast to the Lassies and their Reply which are amusing gently poking fun at the other gender. There will be singing of his songs and recitations of his poetry and perhaps some ceilidh dancing, before a final rendition of Auld Lyne Syne. It's a great evening, so if you are ever over here at this time of year, do let me know and I'll make sure that you get to one!

(I also realised while typing this that it is exactly 15 years since our house burnt down - I remember being a little amused that this had happened on Burns' Night! Maybe that is a story for another day!)

Contented wi' little and cantie wi' mair,
Whene'er I forgather wi' Sorrow and Care,
I gie them a skelp, as they're creepin alang,
Wi' a cog o' guid swats and an auld Scottish sang.

Contented wi' Little
Robert Burns, the Bard (January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

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  posted at 06:12  
  9 comments



9 Comments:
At 25 January, 2007 06:56, Blogger thekingpin68 said...

Hi Keziah,

I have tried Haggis. It was good, but the cook told me it was a modified dish, so whatever that meant. My Dad is in the Masonic Lodge and used to celebrate Robert Burns day.

Here is a link and comment on Haggis:

http://fun-foodandfighting.blogspot.com/2007/01/have-you-ever-eaten-haggis.html

Russ:)

 
At 25 January, 2007 08:47, Blogger MiPa said...

I'll delurk and wish you a wonderful Burn's Night. I'd love to be traveling North for haggis tonight, but I'm not. I'll have to settle for the ceidhl at church on Saturday (to honor our new youth pastor from Dunoon).

 
At 25 January, 2007 16:51, Blogger Duchess of Fife said...

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

 
At 26 January, 2007 01:16, Blogger Linda said...

This was such a fun post Keziah. I love learning about your country and your traditions. Ever since I discovered Rosamunde Pilcher, I have had a yearning to see Scotland. Don't know if I ever will, but it fun seeing a bit of it through your eyes and "pen".
Have a glorious time!!

 
At 26 January, 2007 01:31, Blogger Kathy said...

Thanks, Keziah, for a wonderful description of a Burns Night celebration. I have never attended one but am familiar with elements of it. Sounds great!

 
At 26 January, 2007 03:45, Anonymous susan said...

What a cool celebration and thanks for sharing it with us, Keziah.

Coincidentally I recieved a "Scottish" book in the mail today: 44 Scotland Street. I read the online version of The Scotsman newspaper most days so I am intrigued to read this book.

 
At 26 January, 2007 04:46, Anonymous Kim @ Reformed Grits said...

This is something I didn't know about! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful tradition with us!

 
At 26 January, 2007 14:41, Blogger Ashley said...

Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your culture with us! I found it very interesting. I think I have a bit of Scottish heritage in me, although I've never actually traced my genealogy.

 
At 26 January, 2007 22:29, Blogger Keziah said...

Russ - I'm not sure if your chef meant that the haggis wasn't how it would be made traditionally with all the entrails of the sheep baked in its own stomach? (I write that and yet think to myself, "Hey, I haven't had haggis for SO long. I'd better have some soon!")

MiPa - thanks for not being a Lurk-Ness monster! Ceilidh sounds good. Remember, it's not been a good ceilidh unless you have bruises the next day from all the burling!

Duchess of Fife - hope you and husband had a Burns Supper of your very own over there? Can you even buy haggis in the States?

Linda - you are welcome over here anytime! I'd be delighted to show any of you around my beautiful country.

Kathy - I suppose you have so many transplanted Scots over there that there will have been a good number of Burns Suppers near you. If I don't get a job over here, I'm thinking of maybe applying to work in Australia for a year as many of my friends have done. If I do, I'll make sure to invite you to a Burns Supper!

Susan - how have you ended up being a reader of The Scotsman? I'm afraid I didn't really like "44 Scotland Street" in the few extracts I've read, but that maybe comes from not having read it from the start. Let me know if you have any Scottish or Edinburgh questions I can answer for you.

Kim - it's fun to share some of my country with others. I'm glad you enjoy it too!

Ashley - if you find out where your heritage comes from, let me know. Scots have been emigrated to the States since at least 1650, so they must have a lot of descendants now.

 

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