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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886627326

From: Edward Andrews <>
Subject: Re: HAGGIS: Recipe for the brave
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 21:22:06 +0000

Colleen Eagan wrote:

> Our Presbyterian Church held a Scots dinner a few years ago in which the
> haggis was piped in quite ceremoniously at the end of the meal. Is this a
> true tradition or some affected Americanized version of a Scots tradition?
> And why would the haggis be piped in, anyway? Is it because it's dessert
> and the end of the meal, the piece 'de resistance, so to speak?
> Cheers,
A 'Scots dinner' seems to be an American development of the Burns
I will recount one or two things about a Burns Supper, so that you
can understand why traditionally the Haggis is piped in.
The most basic - and most enjoyable - Burns Supper which I go to is
the one run in the local primary School, where the kids in p7, 11 - 12
year old do it.
Proceedings begin with the Selkirk Grace. - Some ha'e meat...
The Haggis is then piped in, and there is the Address to the haggis -
Fair fa your honest sonsie face Great chieftain o the pudding race.
... during which the haggis is ceremonially opened with a skiendub.
The Haggis is then piped out, to reappear on plates, with Swede and
mashed potatoes.
There is then a toast the Immortal memory, during which someone gives
a talk on Burns.
This is followed by a recitation, a toast to the Lassies, followed by
a reply, followed by singing ald lang syne.
At various places songs and dances are worked in.
Iron Bru, Scotland's other national drink is used.
A similar form was used at the Church Burns Supper. except that
someone recited Tam O Shanter - When chapman billies leave the
street..., and there was a starter of Pate, and a sweet of trifle.
There are however much more elaborate Burns suppers.
These can be just about any kind of organization in Scotland. Firms,
Clubs, Masonic Lodges, Political Party branches, Sports clubs.
There is a recognized Burns Circuit. with recognized Speakers
reciters, singers. Some people will do 50+ Burns Suppers per year.
I do an immortal memory. I will only do one supper a year, because it
is too hard on
the liver.
The form is Always the Selkirk Grace, followed by the address to the
(piped in and out)
haggis The Cook and the piper are rewarded with a dram.
The meal may well consist of Cock O Lekie Soup, the Haggis as an
entrée, followed by Turkey and trimmings- described as bubbling Jock.
followed by trifle and perhaps cheese & biscuits
On the top table whisky will be provided at the rate of a bottle for
every 3 or 4 guests. there may be wine.
Part of the hierarchy of speaking is that clearly you will not drink
until after you have performed (if you have any sense) thus the person
who has the vote of things for the artists, has a long dry night
before them.
The Immortal memory, and lassies are always given, there are other
possibilities especially the recitations, and songs.
Some Burns nights are men only, others are mixed. If mixed there may
be dancing.
I hope that this helps
Edward Andrews
St Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church Dalkeith
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