With 25th January fast approaching, many Scottish establishments and groups will have organised a ‘Burns Night’ supper.

Burns Night is a traditional supper event that celebrates the life of Robert Burns, a well known Scottish poet and lyricist and, although the supper is generally celebrated around the anniversary of Robert Burn’s birthday,( 25th January), it’s not unusual for the event to be celebrated at any time of the year!

burns night supper

Haggis served at traditional Burns Suppers
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67258954@N00/386806117

A Burn’s supper is usually  a formal occasion with participants enjoying  Bag Pipes, Scottish Haggis and –  for those who enjoy it – Scotch whisky!

The first formal Burns Night was organised by Roberts Burn’s own family during the 18th Century in Ayrshire. The idea was to remember and celebrate the anniversary of Robert Burn’s death on 21st July.

Many Burn’s Night ‘Clubs’ have been formed over the years, the objective being to organise, celebrate and enjoy these suppers, in order to keep the tradition alive. Interestingly, many other organisations also host these suppers such as, for example, the Freemasons and St Andrew’s Societies.

Burns Night traditional dress

burns nightOf course tartan is traditionally a key item of clothing for any Scottish celebration such as Burn’s Night and, over the years, Burn’s supper ‘party goers’ have observed a change in dress style, with some choosing to wear a kilt to enjoy the festivities, with others sporting tartan sashes or sarongs.

Traditionally however, Scottish partygoers tend to wear ancestry family tartan, or perhaps  traditional tartans, such as ‘Black Watch’ or ‘Royal Stewart.

A Burn’s celebration considered less formal may see men wearing a suit or jacket, plus a tie, whilst women may dress in skirts –  or perhaps trouser suits  – coupled with blouses. It is also common practice to wear a tartan garment, as a mark of respect, such as tartan socks, a tartan tie, a tartan hair clip or tartan tights.

However, whether you are attending a formal or informal style celebration, your after meal event is likely to be a toast to the ‘lassies’!  Your evening is then likely to continue with dancing and – for some at least – whisky!  And, please do remember, the Scottish celebration of Burn’s Night can be enjoyed by everyone  – not just the Scotts!