About the event

Burns night is the joyous Scottish celebration that commemorates the great Scottish poet Robert Burns. Held on the 25th of January, the day is centred on ‘Burns Supper’ where haggis, neeps and tatties (mashed potatoes and parsnips) are eaten, whiskey is drunk and Burn’s poems are recited. The night has a ritual element in which poems are recited at certain times with Burn’s ‘Address to a Haggis’ coming just before the haggis is served. 

How to approach it

This festival is another opportunity to educate students about different cultural traditions. For Scottish students this day will be familiar, whilst for others around the UK it may be entirely new. Either way it's great to explore what the underlying values of the day might be. A useful thing to ask here is: Why is Burn’s poems so important for Scotland? A good answer to discuss here is that Burns wrote in the Scots language, a distinct relative of English, that has become important to Scottish culture. Other good reasons are that he manages to capture important Scottish traditions and has been inspirational for poets both in Scotland and abroad. 

Leading on from this you could ask: why is it important to celebrate cultural traditions? What familial, communal or cultural traditions do you follow? What do they mean to you and why are they important?


Conversation starter

This day celebrates the great Scottish Poet Robert Burns. Burns is famous for writing poetry in the Scots language. Different languages are precious as they are a way to truly understand different cultures. If you could read another culture's poetry which one would it be and why?