Who do you think is the most famous Scottish person? Billy Connolly? Sean Connery? Groundskeeper Willie? You could make a case for all three, but historically you could make a very strong case for the National Bard himself – Robert Burns.
Robert Burns, or Rabbie to use the Auld Scots, was a Scottish poet from the latter half of the 18th century. I would wager that even if you have never heard his more famous works such as A Red, Red Rose or Scots Wha Hae, there is no way you could be unfamiliar with Auld Lang Syne, sung to celebrate bringing in the new year around the world. Burns’ importance and impact on Scottish culture cannot be overstated, and every year on the 25th of January we celebrate his birth and memory by holding Burns Suppers.
A Burns Supper is an elaborate affair; full of ceremony and ritual. Each stage of the evening has an accompanying poem or address, including a very lengthy address to the haggis that is served as the main course. It must all look rather baffling to an outsider, and certainly the Auld Scots language used in Burns’ writing can be tricky to understand for even the most red-haired of native Scotsmen, but the spirit of the evening is all in good fun and a memorable experience for those who attend.
If cooking your own haggis is too daunting (it’s easy – wrap it in foil and shove it in the oven) or the idea of hosting the event yourself is too much, then Edinburgh has a number of Burns Night related events guaranteed to satisfy:
The Counting House (where Burns himself was once a patron) is hosting the Annasach’s Burns Night Ceilidh with the Annasach’s Ceilidh Band so you can have buffet dinner followed by a night of stripping the willow (google it if you don’t get the reference). If you fancy the red carpet treatment, then that is exactly what you’ll get at the Burns Night at the Royal Yacht Britannia, or you can be decidedly more low-key but still enjoy a little glamour at the Scotmid’s Big Burns Supper hosted by Fred MacAuley with appearances from other home-grown celebs. If you’d rather not get involved in such large-scale celebrations but would still like a night on the town then various restaurants around Edinburgh will have Burns Night menus so there’s no excuse not to try haggis if you’ve not already.
But all of this isn’t to say that your Burns night has to be fancy or traditional. Burns himself was from very humble origins, growing up in poverty the likes of which few of us could imagine, so it seems fair that any celebration of his life could easily be as modest as it could be extravagant. However you decide to celebrate - just make sure it’s guid.
With a variety of luxury serviced apartments available to rent across Edinburgh after your burns supper in the capital enjoy a relaxing stay with Destiny Scotland.