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Haggis, neeps and tatties: Burns Night explained

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Haggis, neeps and tatties: Burns Night explained

Scots celebrate Robert Burns’ birthday every year on January 25.

Burns Night, as it’s known, honours the 18th-century poet by observing a number of particularly Scottish traditions.

Born on January 25, 1759, Burns is considered the national poet of Scotland. Some also see him as a forerunner in the Romantic movement.

His influence on Scottish literature has been great and he narrowly beat William Wallace (aka ‘Braveheart’) in a 2009 vote for the ‘greatest Scot’.

How is Burns Night celebrated?

Initially, his friends got together for supper to celebrate his career on the date of his death in 1796 (July 21).

Over 200 years later, it is now a nationwide event and has even spread further afield.

Events usually include recitals of his works. And haggis. And whisky.

What is haggis?

Visit Scotland describes Scotland’s national dish as “certainly not a beauty queen”.

“But […] what haggis lacks in appearance it certainly makes up in its taste.”

We’ll let you decide…

Traditionally cooked in a sheep’s stomach, haggis is nowadays more often than not wrapped in a synthetic sausage casing.

It is “a type of savoury pudding that combines meat with oatmeal, onions, salt and spices.” says the Scottish tourism site.

It is usually served with a side dish of bashed neeps (turnips) and mashed tatties (potatoes).

According to The Scotsman, shops have seen record sales of the delicacy in the lead-up to Burns Night.

Why is haggis part of the Burns Night celebrations?

Burns celebrated the traditional dish in his poem ‘Address to a Haggis’.


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