How to host your very own Burns Night Supper

January 20, 2017

How to host your very own Burns Night Supper

With only 4 more sleeps till Burns Night, here are some tips on how to host your very own tribute to one of the greatest Scots that has ever lived, Robert Burns.

The Burns Night Supper which is held on the 25th of January each year, is an evening dedicated to celebrating the life and works of Robert Burns and the scale of these evenings can range from a small family gathering to a rather grand dinner party. The Supper is a chance to have a bit of fun but also embrace this traditional Scottish night.

So you have decided you want to host your very own Burns night Supper but haven't got a clue where to begin or what is even needed. Relax, let Paul Hodgkiss Designs guide you through the evening.

piping in the guests at Burns night supper

Step 1

Piping in the guests

No Burns Supper would be complete without a live piper welcoming the guests in and adding that little bit of noisey excitement! (however not everyone has a spare piper kicking about the house so some traditional Scottish music played from any device will do). Also probably a better option for your neighbours to, that is if they aren't actually at your Burns Supper already.


 Chairmans welcome Burns night

Step 2

Chairman’s Welcome

This is where your host for the evening gathers up the guests to mark the beginning of the evening’s entertainment. And now for the serious bit!


The Selkirk Grace

Step 3

The Selkirk Grace

This short prayer is then read aloud, best to pick someone with a very deep voice who can belt this out all the way from the top table. Obviously a Scottish accent is preferred for this task also.

"Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it,

But we hae meat and we can eat,

And sae the Lord be thankit."


piping in the haggis

Step 4

Piping in the haggis

Again it would be great if you had an actual real life piper for this part. It adds to the overall excitement of the star of the show arriving in style ....the Haggis! Most effective if the haggis is brought in on a traditional hand made serving board. If you do not already have one fear not, we know where you can buy one. 

Its nearly time to get down to the good part .... the eating and drinking. First of all though it is time for addressing the haggis.


Addressing the haggis

Step 5

Address to the haggis

Now for the hard bit. Select someone to give the rendition of "To a Haggis' Perhaps best to pick someone that has read it before or has been able to learn it off by heart. Its a bit of a tongue twister even if you haven't had a wee fly nip of whisky yet. We suggest you choose someone who has practised the poem in advance. Or at the very least pick someone who has laid eyes on the never-ending tongue twister before tonight.

"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin'-race". Best to give it all you've got when reading this. It can bring a tear to a glass eye when read with some heart and soul. 

This is then followed by the ceremonial cutting of the haggis, normally with a sgian-dubh marking the start of the feast. Although technically you cant start tucking into the mighty feast before you have toasted the haggis. 


toasting the haggis Quaich tasting Burr elm Quaich

Step 6

Toast to the haggis

Simply raise a glass aloft and shout : ‘The Haggis!’ Always so much better when everyone in the room joins in with this part. The more the merrier .... literally. Also at this point it has become tradition to pass round the Scottish cup of friendship to share a wee dram in. The Wooden Quaich is steeped in history.  Dating back to the 16th century, the Quaich is Scotland’s cup of friendship.  It has been offered through the centuries as a welcoming gift at Clan Gatherings and to visitors from far and wide across the world.  The word “Quaich” is a Scots rendering of the Gaelic word “Cuach”, meaning cup.  The two handed design of this vessel incorporates trust on the part of both the giver and receiver.


haggis neeps n tatties 1 haggis neeps n tatties 2 haggis neeps n tatties 3 

Step 7


Now the hard bit is over it is now time to sit back, relax and celebrate with friends and family. Eat and drink as much as you can. Everything has gone smoothly with the preparation, it’s now time to enjoy the evening. The star of the meal is of course the haggis but cock-a-leekie soup is often served as a starter, with Clootie Dumpling to follow the haggis for desert. And of course wash it all down with some fine Scotch whisky. 


toast to the lassies

Step 8

Toast to the Lassies

Tradition states that at this point a male guest will thank all the women who prepared the meal. The content of this speech will probably depend on how merry the guests are by this point in the night.


Toasting the laddies

Step 8

Toast to the Laddies

In the past there was only ever a Toast to the Lassies. But with Scotland being the modern, forward thinking and fair country that it is times have changed and traditions with it. Women are now encouraged to return the gesture with a ‘Toast to the Laddies’.

These toasts are all meant to be in good fun and there's always a few laughs to be had. 


burns recitals

Step 9

Works by Burns

This wonderful night wouldn't be complete without a good old sing along or a recital of Robert Burns's work. There are hundreds of poems and songs to choose from so get reading now to have something prepared. Why not get the kids involved by getting them to join in with "The Sair Finger" or "Jenny Wi The Mumps"

And of course the night would not be complete without joining hands with your fellow Scot and singing Auld Lang Syne from the top of your lungs.

auld lang syne lyrics auld lang syne

Things you should also remember are Tartan is a must! as well as drinking the other national drink Irn Bru and eating as much shortbread as you can. If you feel like a wee jig round the dance floor best to do it early on in the night ..... while you still can!

tartan irn bru shortbread

Why isn't it Burns Night every night?

Enjoy your Burns Supper Night where ever you have it.

Slanj and happy Burns Night to all our customers, family and friends.
Rabbie Burns birthday

Burns Night is just around the corner and so are we. Why not pop in and see our range of hand made Wood for food chopping and serving boards. Ideal for serving your Burns Night haggis on. As well as our hand made wooden Quaichs. The very traditional way to drink your wee dram to celebrate the great man himself. 

Paul Hodgkiss Designs  31 Gavinton Street Glasgow G44 3EF
Tel: 0141 637 9470
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