Burns Night | Haggis

Well, it’s nearly upon us! Of course, we are talking about Burns Night – the anniversary of Robert Burns’ life and poetry.

Whilst many Londoners may not know much about it, it is celebrated widely across Scotland. So, when did this tradition start? It originally began just after Burns’ death, with his nearest and dearest vowing to celebrate his life every year on July 21 – the day he died – however that date is no longer strictly kept to, with Burns Night being celebrated on varying dates.

Burns Night, as you can imagine, is full of traditional Scottish culture, featuring traditional clothing and music, including one song you may be familiar with – Auld Lang Syne. You may be surprised to know that this traditional New Years’ Eve song actually originated with lyrics from a poem of Burns!

The most anticipated event of the occasion is the Burns Supper. This feast involving family and friends(social distancing permitting) will include many and varied dishes, including the polarising Haggis!

So, now you know a little more about Burns Night, when will it be held this year, and what exactly is in Haggis?


Do You Know The Date Of Burns Night 2022?


As mentioned earlier, Burns Night was intended to be observed on July 21, but is not anymore, why? The new date is not just a random choice. It is now held on a date which has it’s own significance…January 25..that’s right, tomorrow! But why that date? The date has now become January because this was the birthdate of Burns…so, whilst the original traditional date is no longer kept, the current date is still intended to honour Robert Burns.

As with most people, this supper, which began way back in 1801, has become a ritual for the gathering of family and friends…after all, who doesn’t love a great get together? Despite this, mostly, the day still serves it’s original purpose – that of celebrating Robert Burns, highly regarded as one of the greatest Scots of all time. But how does this feast focus on this great person?

Attendees of the feast often honour Burns by reading some of his works, and by keeping to the traditional supper fare..including the famed Haggis. But, what exactly is Haggis?


Know Your Haggis!


Haggis has become intrinsically part of the night for one good reason…Robert Burns love it! He even composed an ode to the dish, called Address to a Haggis, where he described it as ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin-‘race’.

But, how well do you know the Haggis?

Haggis can be classified as a savoury pudding, but features ‘special’ ingredients such as sheep’s hearts, lungs, livers etc. The organs are minced and seasoned, then packed in a sheep’s stomach and boiled! Feel hungry?

Haggis is usually dished with a side of mashed potatoes and turnips…definitely an acquired taste for us Southerners!


Can I Get A Vegetarian Haggis To Go?


Whilst the ingredients of a Haggis are the result of a long and treasured culture, the recipe can be adjusted. So, if you are a Vegan, or if sheep’s organs are a little bit off your culinary radar, don’t despair!

Haggis can feature non-meaty varieties, replacing the meat and organs with veggies, oatmeal, pulses, seeds etc.

BBC Good Food even have a recipe that you can make yourself, thereby sharing in the tradition without ingesting something that you either don’t like, or turns you a little pale! The best thing about their recipe is that most of the ingredients can be found quite easily in most good supermarkets.

So, with Burns Night almost upon us, spend a moment thinking about Scottish legendary figures such as Robert Burns, and have a wee bite of Haggis, you may enjoy it more than you thought!

Author: Londonlad

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