Robbie Burns Day
Robbie Burns Day is a Scottish holiday named after poet and writer, Robert Burns. Get the 411 on why we celebrate his work every January 25th!
Who Was He?
Robert Burns was born on January 25th, 1759, in Alloway, Scotland. At the age of 37, he died from rheumatic heart disease, which he had suffered from since he was a child. Robbie was the oldest of seven children born to a struggling farmer and his wife. After his mother introduced him to Scottish folk songs, legends and proverbs, he began writing touching poems and songs. Some of Robbie Burns' most famous songs include Auld Lang Syne (the song people sing at New Years), Ye Banks and Breaes of Bonnie Doon and My Love's Like a Red, Red Rose. His first book of poems was published in 1788.
Robbie Burns married Jean Armour the same year that his first book of poetry was published. They moved to Dumfries, where he rented a farm. Things didn't work out with the farm and he sunk into a deep depression. Throughout his times of depression (and this happened on several occasions), he continued to write poetry.
Because Robbie Burns' work is loved so much, his birthday is celebrated all over the world on January 25th. Highlights of any Robbie Burns festival often include the bagpipes, Scotsmen in kilts and the reading of Burns' poem, To A Haggis. But no Robbie Burns' feast would be complete without the dish of choice - haggis.
Recipe for Haggis
- 1 sheep's bag and pluck (heart, liver, windpipe and lungs)
- 1/4 lb. suet
- 4 medium sized onions (blanched)
- 1/2 lb. pinhead oatmeal
- 2-4 level tablespoons salt
- 1 level teaspoon black pepper
- 1 level teaspoon powdered herbs
- Wash the bag in cold water, scrape and clean it well. Leave it overnight in cold water.
- Wash the pluck and put in a pan of boiling water and boil for one hour. Leave the windpipe hanging out. Place a small bowl under the windpipe to catch any drips.
- Place the cooked pluck in a bowl, cover with the fluid it was boiled in and leave overnight.
- The next day cut off the windpipe. Grate the liver and chop the heart, suet and onions.
- Toast the oatmeal, but make sure the color doesn't change. Add the oatmeal, salt, pepper, herbs and just over half a liter of liquid in which the pluck was boiled.
- Mix well. Fill the bag more than half full of the mixture, then sew it up and prick it.
- Place in boiling water, simmer for three hours, pricking occasionally to keep from bursting.
- The bag may be cut into several pieces to make smaller haggis; cook one and a half to two hours.
Enjoy your meal and don't forget to read a poem by Robbie Burns!
Have Your Say
Have you ever heard of Robbie Burns? Do you know any interesting facts about his life? Leave a comment and let us know!