As discussed ad naseum, much of Georgetown’s land was once owned by a Scotsman named Ninian Beall. Because of him, just about every other thing in this neighborhood is named after a huge rock in the River Clyde in Scotland. So it’s fair to say that Georgetown has Scottish roots, as far as those things go. So why not celebrate those roots this weekend and hold your own Burns Supper?
Burns Suppers are held to commemorate the life of Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns. Generally they are held around Burns’ birthday of January 25th. This year is particularly exciting for Burnsophiles because it’s the 250th anniversary of his birth.
So what’s involved with a Burns Supper? It’s actually quite a show.
Things are kicked off with the host giving the Selkirk Grace, which is as follows:
Some hae meat and canna eat, Some have meat and cannot eat
And some wad eat that want it; And some cannot eat that want it
But we hae meat, and we can eat, But we have meat, and we can eat
Sae let the Lord be thankit. So let the Lord be thankit.
Parade of the Haggis
The guests are asked to stand and slowly clap for the entrance of the Haggis, which is led by a bagpiper.
Address to the Haggis
Following this grand entrance, the host will read Burns’ poem “The Address to a Haggis.” It’s rather long, and pretty much incomprehensible to English speakers. Check it out here:
The highlight is when the speaker says the words “His knife, see rustic labour dicht/An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight” and then starts hacking the haggis with a knife.
Ok. So it’s really silly and kind of disgusting, but hey, it’s culture.
Obviously haggis is the main course, but generally it is accompanied with “Cock-a-leekie” soup and neeps (rutabaga) and tatties (potatoes).
The Immortal Memory
This is your chance to praise Burns with toasts to his greatness
Toast to the Lassies
Here a man is supposed to stand and give a toast to the women who prepared the meal and to women generally. It’s supposed to be a bit cheeky.
Reply to the Toast to the Lassies
In response to the above, a women is then supposed to stand and give a humorous reply.
Closing Poems and Song
In closing, you should read a few of Burns’ poems and then everyone sings Aud Lang Syne together. Think of it as your chance to finally sing that song only moderately drunk.
By the way, if you’re not ambitious enough to host your own Burns Supper, there are several being held in the area. Just don’t forget your cup of kindness.