• Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

How To: Have your very own Burns Night

ByEleanor Parker

Jan 20, 2016

If you do not fancy splashing out for a ticketed event, if it is too cold to even consider leaving your flat after 4 o’ clock, or if you just fancy celebrating in the comfort of your own home, then look no further for the ultimate guide for holding your own Burns Night.
First: invite your friends. The very worst Burns Night celebrations are the ones with no one else there. The format of the night is up to you and if you want a private dinner party with only three other people in attendance then go for it. Robert Burns would have wanted you to celebrate his poetry in the company of true friends.
You must then ensure that you have purchased the right ingredients for the traditional ‘haggis, neeps and tatties’. If your guests do not like haggis, then this party is probably not for them. The haggis itself can even be cooked in the microwave for those who are not as experienced in the kitchen, and apart from needing a very sharp knife to hack into the turnip and endless arm muscles to mash the potato, it is all relatively simple.
In terms of the music, bagpiping is essential. If your Secret Santa did not purchase you a set of bagpipes for Christmas or you cannot afford a professional, a CD will do, but play it when your guests arrive to set the scene for the evening. This should also be played as the haggis is brought to the table – remember to raise a toast to ‘The Haggis’ with a dram of whisky.
The entertainment can be provided by yourselves, making this a bargain of a night. Ask every guest to recite their favourite Burns’ poem or sing their favourite song. Popular songs include ‘Tam O’Shanter’ and ‘A Red, Red Rose’. As a prize, you could give the winner of the best performance the leftover haggis to take home for breakfast the next day – what a  treat.
At the end of the night, the host of the party should thank all involved and then everyone should join together to sing Auld Lang Syne. Your Burns Night would be not be a true Burns Night without it!

By Eleanor Parker

Ellie is a fourth year History undergraduate and former Lifestyle editor.

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