Burns Supper: January 25th.

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January 15, 2008 – 9:49 am by Mike

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Considering the ingredients of a Haggis, (particularly the casing) isn’t Sheep Dip the perfect whisky to accompany a Real Burns Supper?

We think so. (Well we would wouldn’t we?)

With the great date, for the great man looming, we thought some of our readers might like reminding of the correct procedure over the evening, and indeed reference to the appropriate celebratory poems and songs.

THE FORMAT FOR A BURNS SUPPER

Opening address:
A few welcoming words start the evening and the meal commences with the Selkirk Grace:

Selkirk Grace:
“Some hae meat and cannot eat.
Some cannot eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.”

The company are asked to stand to receive the haggis. A piper then leads the chef, carrying the haggis to the top table, while the guests accompany them with a slow handclap.The chairman or invited guest then recites Burns’ famous poem To A Haggis, with great enthusiasm. When he reaches the line ‘ancut you up wi’ ready slight’, he cuts open the haggis with a sharp knife.

Address to a Haggis:
“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 of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,’Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!”

It’s customary for the company to applaud the speaker then stand and toast the haggis witha glass of whisky. (Guess which one.)

All guests then dine.

The Immortal Memory:
A key feature of the evening, here a designated guest gives a short speech on Burns (1759-1796).

There are many different types of Immortal Memory speeches, encompassing whimsy to gravitas, as appropriate.But the central theme is always to observe the stature and pertinence of the poet, even today.

Toast To The Lasses:
The Immortal Memory speech is followed by a more light-hearted address to the ladies present.

From the earliest days of the Burns Supper, this was traditionally, a thank you to the women-folk for the evening’s food. It is also a opportunity to toast the Lasses in Burns’ life.

Recommendations for the tone are to be; be witty, but never offensive, and should always ending on a concilliatory note.

Response:
Now it’s the turn of the Lasses to outline men’s foibles. Preferably in a light, humorous way, and certainly not derogatory.

Poem and Songs:
Once the speeches are complete the evening continues with songs and poems.

Suggested favourites are Tam O’ Shanter, Address to the Unco Guid, To A Mouse and Holy Willie’s Prayer.

The evening ends with all present standing, linking hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.

Auld Lang Syne:

“For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

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.”

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