29 January 2013

Burns Night

As I mentioned in my last blog post, on Friday night we celebrated Burns Night. This is a celebration of the life of Scottish poet and lyricist, Robert Burns. The Evans version of this celebration is as traditional as possible. We get most of the village round dressed in true Scottish attire, armed and ready for a night of poetry, food, dancing, whiskey and speeches.

So here are your hosts for the evening; my parents:

My Dad just cannot pose for the camera. At all.

The evening has a traditional running order which we tend to stick to. We all gather round in the dining room for the initial "opening ceremony".

First up; the introduction from the chairman and host, otherwise known as my Dad. He introduces each of the guests with a comical quip and outlines the evenings events then welcomes up the next speaker to read the Selkirk Grace. This is a prayer read by our friend Janet before the evening begins as a tribute to Robert Burns.

"Some hae meat and canna eat
And some wad eat that want it.
But we hae meat and we can eat
and sae the Lord be thankit."

See. I told you. We take this evening rather seriously. Up next, we welcome the "star attraction" of the evening. This is of course, a haggis. What else? Our friend Rick delivers the Address to the Haggis, quite a long poem but I'll share with you the opening paragraph:

"Fair fa' your honest sonsie face,
 Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place
Painch, tripe, or thaim:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm."

After the whole poem it is down to Rick to tear open the haggis and show us what we'll all be munching for our Burns Supper! I don't care what you've heard about haggis - it is to die for. Absolutely gorgeous! Just don't think about what it really is and you'll be fine. 

A toast to the haggis, taken with a wee dram of whiskey:

And after that, it's supper time! Burns Supper includes all sorts of foods but the mains and most favourites have to be the haggis, neeps and tatties served with whiskey sauce. Ohhhhh. You haven't lived until you've tried it. Our friends Scott and Teresa certainly enjoyed it anyway:

After stuffing our faces with plate after plate (after plate, after plate) of Scottish delicacies, we move on to the entertainment for the evening. Songs, speeches, and a rather rude poem called Holy Willie's Prayer read by all the lassies in attendance. To say we were all blushing by the end of it was an understatement.

As well as Holy Willie's Prayer we had Braw Lads O' Galla Water, The Immortal Memory, John Barleycorn Must Die and Robert Bruce's March to Bannockburn. A whole host of traditional Burns poetry read by our nearest and dearest. I love how the whole village gets involved and really make an effort for this. It makes the whole evening worthwhile and something great to be a part of. I love, love, love it.

Following all of this madness we hear the individual toasts to the laddies, and the reply from the lassies. This year we had these poems delivered by our good friends Bub and Sandra. The poems are special in that they are written to be individual to the guests at the party, with each man/woman (or lad/lassie) having a wee bit about them mentioned.

Then after that, it's party time. Time to dance and time to ceilidh. We had all the Scottish classic country dances, along with some unforgettable Bay City Rollers tunes - and the not so classic but ever welcome Gangnam Style, it just wouldn't be Burns Night without it?!

And the only way to finish off a truly Scottish evening - Auld Lang Syne:

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should all acquaintance be forgot,
For auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne."

There you have it. You might think we're a bit mad, you'd probably be right. This is now an Evans tradition that we do every year - when all the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over and done with I think everyone needs a good old knees up at the end of January to look forward to! Since Friday night I have had a few people asking what a Burns Night actually entails - so I hope this provides a snippet of our evening and lets you in to our spectacularly random, endlessly hysterical evening of Scottish delights.

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