A drop of Scotch, haggis, some poetry and you have a Burns supper

Brian McInnis
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There was a dram or two of Scotch whisky interspersed with  poetry, songs, stories and the traditional haggis during the annual Robbie Burns supper in Charlottetown Saturday night.

The supper was hosted by the Belfast Pipe and Drum Band and was one of many held worldwide to celebrate the birth of Robbie Burns, Scotland's best loved poet.

Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in Alloway in South Aryshire and died on July 21, 1796 and is regarded as the national poet of Scotland. The first supper in his honour was held in Aryshire at the end of the 18th century and have been held ever since.

Burns suppers may be formal or informal but both include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in Address to a Haggis), Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns' poetry. Formal dinners occasionally end with dancing.

The haggis is not to everyone's taste, but it does form the centrepiece of the traditional Burns supper. It is piped into the dining room, placed in the centre of the room and then the traditional Burns' poem, Address to a Haggis, is recited and the haggis sliced open with a knife. Burns penned the poem in 1787. 

The haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep's heart, liver and lungs, minced with onions, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and mixed with stock. It was traditionally encassed in the sheep's stomach and simmered for as long as three hours.


Geographic location: Scotland, Charlottetown, South Aryshire

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