Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burns night

My Stewart ancestors were Scotch-Irish, from Ulster, which made them more Scottish than the Scots.  I have no stories that Burns night was frequently celebrated by them on the American prairie, but it's a dead-on certainty that Burns night will be celebrated all over the world tonight.

Robert Burns is Scotland's voice, her soul.  There, he is known simply as "The Bard".  He is so well known that you can even sing (part of) one of his songs:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and (days of) ault lang syne?
Note: the "days of" is optional.  He had his nation's practical streak, which appears all over his poetry.  Perhaps most famous is good advice for all of us:
O wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as ithers see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us. And foolish notion; What airs in dress and gait wad lea'e us, And ev'n devotion!
The menu for Burns night is inflexible - haggis and scotch whiskey are required.  Very formal occasions will have a piper to serenade the haggis as it is brought to table.  I quite like haggis, although it's pretty hard to find.  Strangely, I never developed a taste for scotch.


Greybeard said...

Ah me poor lad, Scotch,,, the spirit of the Gods. Yer a missin' so much.


Divemedic said...

Haggis. I agree with Mike Myers: All Scottish food is based on a dare.