Robert Burns Supper
January 25th marks the birthday of Scotland’s favourite son, and world renowned poet and lyricist, Robert Burns. Around this time, places across the globe celebrate the Bard’s birth and life with the Burns Supper.
This includes the traditional Presentation and Addressing of the Haggis, Toasts to the Lads & Lassies, which is often hilarious, endearing, enlightening, and raucous! All in fun, of course!
A bountiful meal is provided, usually including meat, neeps & tatties (turnips & potatoes) and of course haggis. Finished off with a delectable desert! Pipe music and other musical entertainment is provided throughout the celebration. At the end, we all join in for a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
Our Annual Burns Supper was held on January 20th, 2024
at the American Legion - Post 26
Scotland's bard Robert Burns set to be celebrated with new mural
A NEW Robert Burns mural will be installed next year in Kilmarnock town centre to celebrate the national bard.
The mural is set to be located on John Dickie Street on a prominent gable end of the Civic Centre North.
The Kilmarnock Street where the mural will be installed is home to the Robert Burns World Federation.
Marc Sherland, director of the Robert Burns World Federation, said: “The mural is a wonderful way to express the simple fact that, if it were not for Kilmarnock printing the first edition of Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, Scotland and the world would not remember its ploughman poet."
Artist Michael Corr was chosen to design and install the mural after impressing the judges with his "unique artistic vision".
He said: “It's an honour to be entrusted with creating a mural that will engage and inspire the people of Kilmarnock.
“I look forward to working closely with the community to ensure the artwork reflects their values and aspirations.”
The selection process involved a pool of 33 artists who had submitted applications in order to be in with a chance of designing the mural.
Judges who selected the artist included a partnership of local groups such as Kilmarnock Business Association, East Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Leisure and the Robert Burns World Federation.
Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: "This mural will add vibrancy and character to our town centre, reflecting Kilmarnock's rich heritage and artistic spirit.”
A drop-in meet-the-artist session with Michael Corr will take place at The Robert Burns First Edition Summer Festival.
The festival will take place on July 27 between 1pm and 4pm at the Robert Burns World Federation Building.
The mural installation is subject to planning permission.
Address To A Haggis
Dinnae be afraid of the Haggis!
Haggis is a wholesome savoury pudding, a mixture of mutton and offal.
It is boiled and presented at table in a sheep's stomach
By Robert Burns, written in the Scots language.
All hail your honest rounded face,
Great chieftain of the pudding race;
Above them all you take your place,
Beef, tripe, or lamb:
You're worthy of a grace, as long as
The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your sides are like a distant hill
Your pin would help to mend a mill,
In time of need, while through your
pores the dews distil, like amber bead.
His knife the rustic goodman wipes,
To cut you through with all his might,
Revealing your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, what a glorious sight,
Warm, welcome, rich.
Then plate for plate they stretch & strive,
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all the bloated stomachs by and by,
Are tight as drums.
The rustic goodman with a sigh,
His thanks he hums.
Let them that o'er his French ragout,
Or hotchpotch fit only for a sow,
Or fricassee that'll make you spew,
And with no wonder;
Look down with sneering scornful view,
On such a dinner.
Poor devil, see him eat his trash,
As feckless as a withered rush,
His spindly legs and good whip-lash,
His little feet
Through floods or over fields to dash,
O how unfit.
But, mark the rustic, haggis-fed;
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Grasp in his ample hands a flail
He'll make it whistle,
Stout legs and arms that never fail,
Proud as the thistle.
You powers that make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare.
Old Scotland wants no stinking ware,
That slops in dishes;
But if you grant her grateful prayer,
Give her a haggis.
Analysis of Address to A Haggis
Stanza 1: In this stanza, the poet expresses his appreciation upon seeing a plate of haggis put before him. He says that haggis is a filling and unpretentious dish. It is also the most superior among all dishes made of sausage. Since the haggis is made up of the liver, lungs and heart of a sheep chopped and boiled within the sheep’s stomach, it is better than the sum of its ingredients. The poet also says that the haggis is as long as his arm, and so it deserves to be honoured by all.
Stanza 2: In this stanza, the poet tells the haggis that it covers the entire plate on which it is served. Its buttocks are so round and full that they appear to be like hills. The skewer by which the meat is held together is so long that it could hold up a collapsing mill. The pores on the haggis allow the amber-coloured stew inside to form droplets of dew on its surface.
Stanza 3: In this stanza, the poet introduces a man who has been given the job of carving up the haggis and serving it. He begins by polishing his knife, and then cuts through the meat without any apparent effort. With his knife, it seems he is digging a ditch in the innards of the haggis, and out of that ditch flows out the delicious stew inside, spreading a rich and appealing aroma.
Stanza 4: In this stanza, the poet describes a group of diners feasting on the haggis. He says that each man takes up his spoon and starts competing with the others for the largest portion. The slowest one gets the last piece. Even so, the men all keep eating for a long time until finally, all their bellies swell up and become as tight-stretched as the skin on a drum. The person at the head of the table is most likely to burst and he thanks God that his stomach is still intact.
Stanza 5: In this stanza, the poet ridicules French food such as ragout. Of the olio stew, he says that it can bloat you up without filling your stomach. Of the fricassee, he says it can cause nausea. In contrast to these dishes, the Scottish haggis is one that no one could look down upon or reject the chance to devour.
Stanza 6: In this stanza, the poet pokes fun at people who eat French dishes. He says they are as feeble as reeds. Their legs are so skinny that they appear to be the ends of whips. Their fists are as small as hazelnuts. Such men will surely never be fit enough to fight in land or at sea.
Stanza 7: In this stanza, the poet presents a picture of the man from the Scottish countryside who feeds on haggis regularly. He is so sturdy that the ground he walks upon trembles. The poet is sure that he will be able to put even a blade to good use, decapitating men as easily as he would the tops of thistles.
Stanza 8: In this stanza, the poet speaks to the supreme powers who are responsible for providing mankind with food. He tells them that Scottish men are not satisfied with watery dishes that will splash around in the bowls they are served in. Instead, if they are given haggis, they will be forever grateful.
Thank you for this analysis of Robert Burns Address to a Haggis, for more information, please go to: Beaming Notes: Address to a Haggis Analysis and Summary by Robert Burns
Who influenced Robert Burns?
Like most of us, Burn’s character was most likely shaped at home ‘by his ain fireside’. He had a strict but loving family who undoubtedly provided him with a stable background and taught him right from wrong and the value of hard work.
His father, William was a hardworking, religious man who had enlightened views on education. It was thanks to him that Robert received an education from John Murdoch who was hired as a teacher. Burns was subsequently exposed to, and became excited by writings, stories, and songs.
His Mother, Agnes was a great lover of Scottish songs and ballads and would often sing as she went about her daily chores. Burns developed a love of song, particularly those sung in the old Scot’s language. This early exposure to such songs must surely have been influential in Burns’ later contributions to the world of Scottish song.
Another great influence was ‘Aunty Betty’, Elizabeth Davidson, widow of Burns’ mother’s cousin. She often helped in the family home and had a great collection of stories and songs concerning devils, ghosts, witches, and fairies. Superstition was rife in Ayrshire at this time and the Burns bairns undoubtedly relished in Aunty Betty’s tales and it is probable that these tales were in Robert Burns’ mind years later when he was writing Tam o' Shanter.