January 25 marks the birthday of Robert Burns: Scotland’s famous poet and lyricist and perhaps the country’s greatest cultural icon. In fact, in 2009, the Scottish public voted Robert Burns as “the Greatest Scot,” courtesy of a vote run by a Scottish television channel.
To celebrate Robert Burns’ life and all he achieved, pubs throughout Scotland and Ireland honour his memory with Burns Dinners – a party and meal featuring haggis, scotch whiskey, bagpipes and recitations of Robert Burns’ poetry.
Born in 1759, Robert Burns was more than just a poet; he also wrote commentary on civil and political issues and was considered a pioneer in the Romantic Movement – a period of extensive artistic, literary and intellectual pursuits. The movement was a revolt against aristocratic society and the industrial revolution. However, his most famous work is probably the song Auld Lang Syne, which is commonly sung at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Burns Suppers are held around the world and always include traditional Scottish fare. The dinner almost always consists of haggis, which is a mixture of meat (specifically, a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal and spices. The meat is then boiled inside a sheep’s stomach. If the dish doesn’t sound too appealing to you, have a dram of scotch first, to warm you up.
You can celebrate Robbie Burns and Scottish tradition at the Lake Simcoe Arms, which might not serve haggis, but does feature a menu of authentic, single malt scotch whiskies. For more information, visit www.lakesimcoearms.com.