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What is Burns Night?

Burns Night is an annual celebration held on January 25th to celebrate the life and work of the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Burns Night is a huge part of Scottish tradition but is also celebrated in other parts of the world too. Lots of people host evening dinners to commemorate Robert Burns birthday and usually dress up in tartan attire. These dinners are often referred to as a Burns Supper.

Who is Robert Burns?

Robert Burns is a famous poet, born on January 25th in the small village of Alloway, Scotland. He is widely considered to be Scotlands national poet. You may be more familiar with Robert Burns than you think. He wrote the famous poem 'Auld Lang Syne' which is sung in most English-speaking countries to bid farewell to the year on New Year's Eve.

You can actually visit Robert Burns' cottage where he grew up, as well as his museum and official monument, all located in his hometown of Alloway. You can read more about this by clicking here.

Do we celebrate Burns Night in Wales?

Burns Night is a Scottish tradition, make no bones about it. However, people in Wales and across the world also choose to celebrate the life of Robert Burns for a number of reasons. Some Welsh folk may also have Scottish heritage, married into a Scottish family or simply have a love for all things Celtic, in which case it's a great opportunity to get the kilt out of the wardrobe!

We also supply thousands of Scottish tartans, to Scottish customers living all around the world. So whichever great Celtic nation you hail from, we have something suitable for you!

What happens at a Burns Supper?

The first supper was held by Burns' friends all the way back in 1801, on the fifth anniversary of his death. The events of that night have been replicated annually ever since to celebrate the great poet. A Burns Supper usually includes a three-course meal, the highlight of which is of course the haggis. Officially, the host is to perform the famous 'Address to a haggis' poem before the main meal is served.

After the meal, the first Burns recital is performed, the 'Immortal Memory', which is the main tribute speech to Burns. The second Burns recital is then performed, followed by a 'Toast to the Lassies'. Finally, the last Burns recital is performed. The tipple of choice for the evening is usually a glass of whiskey.

What do you wear on Burns Night?

Tartan attire is usually the best choice on Burns Night. A kilt is recommended for the men, however tartan trews / trousers, waistcoats or other smaller tartan items are also acceptable depending on how formal the evening is that you're attending. For the ladies, a tartan skirt, shawl, sash or brooch is normally the preferred choice (or all of the above)!

The great thing about tartan is you don't have to dress to the nines to get involved. If the event you're planning or attending is quite casual, even the most subtle touches can go a long way with the guests. If you need some ideas, check out our Burns Night recommendations by clicking here.

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