“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!” The opening lines of Robert Burns’ ‘Address to a Haggis’ will be repeated across Scotland on 25 January to mark Burns Night (or Burns Nicht in traditional Scots). Burns Night is the celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most revered cultural figures. The first Burns Night was held by friends of Burns in 1801, five years after the poet’s death, and has become a staple event of the Scottish calendar. The poem is recited as the haggis is cut into, with steam rising from its insides like a steam train. It’s the hallmark sight of the traditional celebration.
Edinburgh, however, is offering lots of alternatives for those who want to use this day to explore some of the rich heritage that the Scottish capital can offer. Here is just a taste of what’s happening around Edinburgh on 25 January.
Burns Night @ Teviot Row House
Teviot will host its annual Burns Night celebration consisting of a haggis, neeps and tatties meal and ceilidh. There is also an optional whiskey tasting experience and the option of vegetarian haggis with your meal (which is just as tasty as the meat-based stuff). A lot of tartan and a traditional get-up are encouraged but not essential.
Tickets: £10 – £15. Buy tickets here.
Musica Nordica presents Burns Bellmans Night
The creative social enterprise Musica Nordica is hosting a Burns Night concert in the Wee Red Bar that promises to be a rampant and joy-filled evening out. The theme of the night is similarity and difference, exploring some of the past’s more confusing elements and without doubt some contemporary relevance as well. Expect great music and poetry in this welcome break from the difficulties of modern life.
Tickets: £6.50 (for students). Buy tickets here.
ABBA Meets Burns
The traditional Burns Supper will be getting an ABBA-fuelled Swedish takeover at Akva on Fountainbridge. You will get your haggis along with some Swedish meatballs and a host of other cross-cultural foodie creations. There is a Swedish raffle and a glitter bar to add a bit of glamour to your Burns Night. The event is being run in support of Whizz-Kidz, a charity that supports disabled children across the UK to live as independent lives as possible. And did we mention ABBA?
Tickets: £20. Buy tickets here.
The Burns Night Comedy Show
Edinburgh Fringe behemoths Gilded Balloon run their basement comedy club every weekend and for the 25th and 26th January, it is all Burns themed. They have a mixture of their favourite performers plucked straight from the Fringe Festival to up and coming talents who will be comedy names to watch in years ahead. Glasgow comedian Billy Kirkwood will be hosting the show, which will feature sets from the likes of Susan Riddell, Grant Busé and the Kagools. A great way to end Burns Night with a smile on your face.
Tickets: £12. Buy tickets here.
Image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr