Burns Night at Hame



The first Burns Supper was held in July 1802 on the fifth anniversary of Burns’ death. Nine of his closest friends met at the cottage in Alloway in celebration of his life. The evening was a triumph. So much so that they decided to meet again on the date of his birthday the following January. Little did they know that night that they set in motion what would become a global phenomenon. And one, dear fiere, you should feel proud to be part of…

The key ingredient to any Burns Supper is to have FUN, you can follow the traditional format or make up your own, but we’ve included a few music performances and Rabbie Recitals for you to enjoy as part of the celebrations.


Assuming you don’t have a piper in the house, playing some Scottish music is the next best thing to set the mood, why not enjoy some music from Kinnaris at National Museum of Scotland to set the mood.

A prayer traditionally said before starting the feast of any Burns Supper

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!

The Haggis Enters

All stand for the grand arrival of The Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin’ Race, otherwise known as the haggis.

Address to a Haggis is Burns’ humorous ode to the humble haggis. Presenting haggis as a symbolic part of Scottish culture, Burns’ poem led the way for haggis becoming not only a popular meal but Scotland’s national dish.

With knife poised at the ready, the reader pays respect by reciting Burns’ Address To a Haggis. A cut is made in the haggis during the third verse on reading of the line “An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht”. Note: It’s best to make a small incision in the haggis before you start the ritual. You don’t want your guests to be hit by flying (hot) haggis.

Address to a Haggis (1786)

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang ‘s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!


Burns wrote in Old Scots which can be tricky to read, especially for non-Scots. But perfect pronunciation isn’t the aim of the evening. Paying tribute to Burns is.

So if you have someone who’s willing to have a go, even at a short verse, then give them plenty of encouragement.

On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough – November, 1785

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
daimen-icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ requet;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s win’s ensuing,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves and stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I cannot see,
guess an’ fear!

A RED, RED ROSE (1794)

One of the most famous love songs associated with Robert Burns, ‘My Luve’s like a Red, Red Rose’ was composed prior to 1794 when it appeared in a collection by an Edinburgh composer named Urbani.

It later appeared in James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum in 1796 and in George Thomson’s Select Collection of Scottish Airs in 1799. Part of the song’s appeal is its use of powerful, natural imagery to convey a love that is ever-lasting and capable of surviving both distance and time.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair are thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

Auld Lang Syne

Everyone links arms and joins in the world’s favourite song of friendship.

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

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowan fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt,
Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


This is the part of the supper where the host reflects on Burns’ life and works. There are no rules – the spirit of Rabbie is alive and well – but these wee tips might come in handy.

Your own words
The Immortal Memory is as much about you as it is about Rabbie. It’s your take on the poet, the man, the legend. Tonight, you’re the one set to inspire!

Set the tone
Although this is the most serious part of the evening, feel free to inject a little humour. You know your audience and what they’d appreciate.

Timed to perfection
At a formal Burns Supper the Immortal Memory would last around 15 minutes, but it’s fine if you’d rather make your speech shorter.

There will be plenty more Burns joy to be had as the evening progresses, so why not use some Burns&Beyond music and poetry performances to celebrate into the night!



Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 kg / 2¼lb haggis
250g turnips
200g / 7oz unsalted butter
450g / 1lb potatoes
1tbs double cream
6tbs milk

Method: Haggis

  1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and carefully add your prized haggis, complete with its natural ‘casing’
  2. Reduce heat to a low setting and simmer for 75-90 mins
  3. Keep an eye on it and top with water if necessary
  4. Make sure you keep your haggis at a low heat otherwise it may burst

Method: Neeps & Tatties

  1. Bring two separate pans of salted water to the boil
  2. Meanwhile cube the neeps (turnip) and tatties (potatoes)
  3. Add the neeps (turnip) to one pan of boiled water, cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender
  4. Add the potatoes (tatties) to the remaining pan of boiled water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until tender
  5. Drain the neeps (turnip) well and return to the pan. Add half the butter and the cream. Mash until smooth. Season to taste
  6. Drain the tatties (potatoes) well and return to the pan
  7. Add the remaining butter and a glug of milk (6tbsp) and mash until smooth. Season to taste.
  8. Keep your prepared tatties and neeps warm until you’re ready to serve
  9. Once the haggis is cooked, carefully drain and place on a plate. Unless, of course you’re piping in your haggis in which case be sure to make a small incision before its grand entrance.

Tip: Leave to cool for a minute before carefully making a small incision.
(If you don’t do this carefully you may end up wearing bits of very hot haggis!)



Ingredients (Serves 4):
2tbs medium grain oatmeal
400g raspberries
1tspn caster sugar
350ml double cream
2-4tbsp heather honey
2-4tbsp whisky to taste
Mint leaves (optional garnish)
Dessert glasses to serve

  1. Pop the oatmeal on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown. (The rich nutty smell is fabulous.) Leave to cool
  2. Set a generous portion of raspberries to one side to use as a garnish later. Divide the remaining raspberries into two. Crush one of the portions into a puree. Add a teaspoon of caster sugar to sweeten. Set the other half aside to use later
  3. Whisk the double cream until it has just set. Add in the honey and a little whisky and taste. Add a little more honey or whisky if you think it needs it
  4. Stir in the oatmeal to create a firm mixture
  5. Add the raspberry puree to the remaining whole raspberries
  6. Now it’s time to create your sweet masterpiece. In your dessert glasses alternate scoops of oatmeal mix, cream and raspberries, topping off with a delicate spoonful of oatmeal and your remaining whole raspberries and mint (optional) to garnish