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How to host your own Burns Supper

ScotlandFlagToday is celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns‘ birthday, which means it is time for a Burns Night Supper! Celebrated on or near the Burns’ birthday on January 25th, special feasts known as “Burns Suppers” are a long-standing tradition in Scotland, throughout the UK, and wherever Burns fans are found. The Burns Night feast itself has a formal structure, combing poems, speeches, and special dishes. Haggis, the much maligned official dish of Scotland, sheep’s offal mixed with oatmeal and cooked in an animal stomach (or other casing nowadays) is front and center on the menu – and it even has its own address and bagpipe introduction.

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Burns Night Supper by David Wagner

Other traditional Scottish dishes served alongside the haggis include along “neeps” and “tatties” (turnips and potatoes). The complete Burns night itinerary and source materials can be found at the Robert Burns Society, and a sample menu can be found at BBC Good Food. Chowhound has a nice summary of the best way to make haggis in the US, where some of the ingredients are hard to find. Though many supper-throwers adhere closely to the classic dishes, you could also mix things up a little and serve a vegetarian haggis! Of course, no Burns Supper is complete without a singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” Burns’ most famous work, and the official closing of the festivities.

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