Burns Night is an event that is annually celebrated in Scotland on or around 25th January, and has become popular all around the UK.
Burn’s Night commemorates the life of the poet Robert Burns, for his contribution to Scottish culture, who was born 25th January 1759. One of Burn’s best known work is “Auld Lang Syne”, which can be heard sung around the world on New Years Eve.
Burn’s wrote a poem to celebrate his appreciation of the Haggis. As a result Burns and Haggis have been forever linked. This particular poem is always the first item on the program of Burn’s suppers. The haggis is generally carried in on a silver salver at the start of the proceedings. As it is brought to the table a suitable, rousing accompaniment is traditionally played by a piper, but a piano would work just as well. Someone then recites the poem before the theatrical cutting of the haggis with the ceremonial knife. A translation of the poem follows:
Address to a Haggis
Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or intestines:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.
The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your buttocks like a distant hill,
Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour wipe,
And cut you up with ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm steaming, rich!
Then spoon for spoon, the stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
Then old head of the table, most like to burst,
‘The grace!’ hums.
Is there that over his French ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a sow,
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust,
Looks down with sneering, scornful view
On such a dinner?
Poor devil! see him over his trash,
As feeble as a withered rush,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He’ll make it whistle;
And legs, and arms, and heads will cut off
Like the heads of thistles.
You powers, who make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery stuff,
That splashes in small wooden dishes;
But if you wish her grateful prayer,
Give her [Scotland] a Haggis!