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Burns Night 2017

Press release   •   Jan 18, 2017 12:27 GMT

Get everyone together for a night of haggis, whisky and poetry on Burns Night this year, Wednesday 25 January!

With dry January (potentially!) losing its allure at this stage of the month, VisitScotland invites you to join Scots all over the world in raising a dram to Scotland’s Bard, Robert Burns, on his birthday, 25 January. In Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, discover some of the traditions and festivities linked to Robert Burns; the Ayrshire ploughman who became one of the world’s best-known poets. Beat the late-January blues by sharing the warmth and spirit of Scotland; get your pals together for ‘auld lang syne’ or old times’ sake and host your own Burns Supper. It’s a night for all those who feel their ‘heart’s in the Highlands’!

How do you throw a Burns Supper (officially)?

  1. To start – everyone gathers, the host says a few words, everyone sits and the Selkirk Grace is said.
  2. The meal – the starter is served, perhaps cock-a-leekie, the haggis is piped in, the host performs Address to a Haggis, everyone toasts the haggis and the main meal is served, followed by dessert, often Cranachan.
  3. After the meal – the first Burns recital is performed, the Immortal Memory (the main tribute speech to Burns) is given, the second Burns recital is performed, then there’s a Toast to the Lassies, followed by a Reply to the Toast to the Lassies, before the final Burns recital is performed.
  4. To end the night – the host gives a vote of thanks, everyone stands and sings Auld Lang Syne, crossing their arms and joining hands at the line ‘And there's a hand, my trusty fere!’.

How do you throw a Burns Supper (unofficially)?

In truth, you can follow as much or as little of this running order as you like. You can even make your own additions– hold a quiz, add a ceilidh, include a treasure hunt – the most important thing is that everyone gets in the spirit and has a great night!

Impress with Burns quotes!

‘There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.’

‘The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,

Gang aft agley.’

‘But to see her was to love her,

Love but her, and love forever.’

For further recipe inspiration, ideas on how to perfect your toast, plus more on the main man himself, check out VisitScotland’s handy Burn’s Night Guide

In Scotland? Join some cracking Burns Events!

Big Burns Supper, Dumfries & Galloway, 20 – 29 January 2017

The Big Burns Supper is the world’s biggest Burns Night celebration over ten days. Highlights include the return of Le Haggis - an Interactive Haggis Hunt, performances from over 40 artists including the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Nicola Bendetti and Lulu and the Festival of Light project.

Burns Unbound, Edinburgh, 22 January 2017

Celebrate the poetry and legacy of Robert Burns at the National Museum of Scotland with a packed programme of creative activities and performances at Burns Unbound. Learn to ceilidh dance, get crafty and discover some braw Burns poetry!

Alloway 1759, Ayrshire, throughout January

Celebrate the Bard’s birthday in his birthplace of Alloway with a special programme of events taking place around Burns Cottage and surrounding landmarks at Alloway 1759. Journey into Burns Alicht, a sparkling Burns birthplace tour featuring special illuminations bringing landmarks to life. And not forgetting the World Haggis Hurling Championships.

About Robert Burns

  • Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway in Ayrshire
  • Despite his short life, he died at 37, Burns left a huge catalogue of poetry and songs that have been poured over, enjoyed and spoken aloud for over 200 years
  • Burns penned his first poem age 15
  • In his personal life, Burns dedicated hundreds of lines of verse to women and went on to father 12 children, 9 to his wife Jean Armour
  • For all his fame, Burns never forgot his humble roots. His love for farming stayed with him throughout his life and his writing often dealt with issues affecting the poorer classes, notably highlighting the need for greater social equality
  • The first Burns supper was held in July 1801 when nine of Burns’ close friends got together to mark the fifth anniversary of their friend’s death. Taking place at Burns Cottage in Alloway, the night included a tasty meal (haggis, of course!), performances of Burns’ work and a speech in honour of the great Bard (now known as the Immortal Memory).
  • The night was such a resounding success they decided to hold it again (this time in honour of Rabbie’s Burns’ birthday), beginning the tradition we still enjoy to this day.

About VisitScotland

  • VisitScotland launched its global Spirit of Scotland campaign in 2016. To find out more, go to Join the conversation by using #ScotSpirit
  • Spirit of Scotland PR activity is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2014 to 2020. The Scottish Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme.
  • VisitScotland’s Community site was set up for the Scottish public to help, engage and enthuse potential visitors about the country. To get involved go to:
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Burns Night is a key part of Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, which runs from 1 January – 31 December 2017. Scotland’s rich heritage, captivating history and world-renowned archaeology will come to life through a range of new and existing events and experiences aimed at locals and visitors alike. For more information go to or join the conversation at #HHA2017