I first heard about Burns Night, or Burns Supper, just a few weeks ago. I was reading the Twitter feed of a UK restaurant which mentioned it as an upcoming event. I had no idea what it was so I looked up Burns Supper on Wikipedia and learned that it was a Scottish celebration of the life and work of favorite Scotsman Robert Burns on January 25 each year. Because I've always been interested in my Scottish heritage (and this interest has increased since giving birth to my Scottish-looking redheaded children), I tried thinking of ways to incorporate this tradition into our family celebrations. Perhaps we could have a tea party (a favorite past time of my girls) with Scottish treats and read preschool-friendly poetry. Perhaps we could make a Scottish craft--like the St. Andrew Cross flag. Then, by chance, I discovered that Green Springs Gardens, just a few miles from my house, was hosting its own Burns Night. I decided that our family tea party could wait a year and I would first do research by making this Burns Night celebration my first solo fun trip out since having Baby Anne.
Rather than a full Burns Supper, the event at Green Springs Gardens was a tasting. Haggis is the key part of the Burns Supper. It is presented and cut as Burns' poem Address to a Haggis is read. Specifically, we learned at the tasting that the haggis is cut into while reading the lines: "An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,/Trenching your gushing entrails bright." (Wow, that's appetizing.) At the tasting, a small portion of haggis was served on a slice of potato while we drank tea and nibbled on shortbread, oatcakes, and Scottish heather fudge. I enjoyed all of this while chatting with the lovely elderly attendees of the event. My research was accomplished since prior to the tasting there was an enjoyable talk on Scotland, Robert Burns and the Burns Supper. I do believe we will incorporate some fun version of Burns Night into our family celebrations in the future. But with Saint Brigid's Day coming up next Saturday (February 1), I suppose an Irish celebration is next.