There’ll be plenty of Burns suppers in Cumbria this and every January, for 25th January marks the birthday of the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns, which is celebrated the world over. Burns Suppers are held across Scotland and in remote far away places by people of Scottish decent.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
The First Burns Supper
The first ever Burns Supper was held by Burns’ friends in 1801 on the 5th anniversary of his death and since then the celebration of the poet and his contribution to literature has become an important event in the Scottish calendar. Burns Suppers can be formal events where people dress up in their tartan and Scottish inspired finery, or more informal events for family and friends in the homes of people with a connection to Scotland.
Whether formal or informal, there are some key things that all Burns Suppers have in common:
- The traditional dish eaten is Haggis with ‘neeps and tatties’ (mashed swede and potatoes).
- Most Burns Suppers have an ‘address to the Haggis’, which goes like this:
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm.
- Whisky is normally consumed in large quantities.
- There will be some reading of Burns’ poetry
Burns and Cumbria
If you look at the history of Cumbria (or the original regions of Cumberland and Westmorland), you discoverthat it has a long history of invasions and migrations, as well battles and skirmishes between the English and the Scots.
Scotland is Cumbria’s neighbour and there are many Scottish families and Scottish accents across the county. All of which means that there will be scores of Burns Suppers happening in village halls, luxury hotels, pubs, clubs and homes on and around January the 25th.
If a traditional Burns night appeals to you, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle are hosting an evening of dialect poetry and Burns Night traditions. Telephone 01228 618718 to ask for details. At the time of writing this article it was not yet on their website.
For a Burns night with a twist, called a Lanty Slee evening, the Lakes Distillery is running two events on 20th January and 27th of January. Instead of focusing entirely on Burns, they are celebrating the life and times of the infamous Lake District whisky smuggler, Lanty Slee. For details, telephone 017687 88850 or visit www.lakesdistillery.com
Staying at The Tranquil Otter for Burns Night
If you are staying with us for Burns Night and want to host your own Burns Supper, you can get a definitive guide on how to run a burns supper from this link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/burns_night_running_order.shtml
You can order a Haggis from our local butcher, Mullhollands. They don’t have a website but you can contact them on: 01228 710298.
However you choose to celebrate the poetry of Robert Burns, have fun!