Bagpipers at a Robert Burns Dinner; courtesy of Mark Anbinder

Caption

Lovers of Scottish culture the world over are gathering this Friday on Burns Night to celebrate the birth of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, on January 25, 1759. The first recorded Burns Night Supper honoring the poet (famed for poems such as “Tam O’ Shanter” and “Ode to Haggis”) took place in 1801 in his birthplace village of Alloway and the evening’s line-up of toasts, poems and bagpipe ditties has varied little ever since. A traditional meal of haggis (sheep organ meats blended with oatmeal and spices), neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) is served, washed down with copius drams of whiskey. Festivities are capped off with the joining of hands and the singing of the bard’s great song of parting, “Auld Lang Syne.” Restaurants, pubs, hotels and dining halls all over Scotland celebrate this special night.