Penna How to: Host a Burns Night Supper


A Burns Supper is a traditional Scottish celebration that takes place on or around January 25th, the anniversary of the poet's birth. It's a night filled with delicious food, music, and poetry, and is a great way to bring friends and family together to celebrate Scottish culture. 

You can generally find several Burns Night Suppers held around town, but you can also host your own at home! All you need is good friends, good food, and (if you choose) good whisky. Plus, a book of Robert Burns poems and songs.

Here are some tips on how to host a successful Burns Supper at home:

    1. Plan the menu: A traditional Burns Supper typically includes haggis as the main course, along with Scotch broth, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), and a dessert of cranachan (a traditional Scottish dessert made with cream, whisky, oats, and raspberries). You can also include other Scottish favorites such as Cullen skink (a thick smoked haddock soup), cullenbie (a type of Scottish cheese) and whisky. 

    2. Decorate your home: To create a truly authentic experience, decorate your home with traditional Scottish decorations such as tartan blankets, and thistles. You can go simple and elegant with a white tablecloth, your best dishes and fresh heather in small vases. Or for a more rustic look,  pull out your favourite tartans and plaids and set the table with brightly coloured Fiestaware in complementary hues. You can also place candles and lanterns around the room to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. 

    3. Prepare the poetry: Burns Supper is all about celebrating the life and work of Robert Burns, so be sure to have some of his poetry on hand to read aloud during the celebration. "Address to a Haggis" is a must-read and can be recited before the haggis is served.

    4. Music and Entertainment: Burns Supper is not complete without traditional Scottish music and entertainment. You can hire a piper to play the bagpipes, or play recordings of traditional Scottish music throughout the evening.

    5. Make it a potluck: To make the night more fun, you can ask your guests to bring a Scottish dish to share. This way, everyone can try different Scottish foods and enjoy a variety of dishes.

    6. Toasts and speeches: The traditional Burns Supper includes several toasts, including the Toast to the Haggis, the Immortal Memory, and the Toast to the Lassies and Laddies. Be sure to have a few speeches planned and assign someone to lead the toasts.

    7. Have fun and enjoy! Burns Supper is all about celebrating the life and legacy of Robert Burns and Scottish culture. Don't worry about being too formal or having everything perfect. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the evening with your friends and family.

Hosting a Burns Supper at home is a great way to celebrate Scottish culture and honor the life and work of Robert Burns. With a little planning and a lot of fun, you can host a memorable evening that your guests will be talking about for years to come.