Traditionally a bagpipe player will greet the guests, who then mingle as the pipes play. Don’t worry if you don’t have a set of bagpipes on hand, you can always play this traditional playlist on Spotify instead!
Hosts Welcoming Speech
Time for the event’s host to give everyone a warm welcome and speak words about the event and the reasons behind it. This speech is then followed by the seating of the guests before Selkirk Grace is read, the famous grace that Burns himself delivered to Dunbar Douglas, the 4th Earl of Selkirk.
Piping In The Haggis
The main highlight of the evening is the arrival of the Haggis. With guests upstanding, the main course of Haggis arrives on a large plate, lead into the dinning hall by a bagpiper. The host will now read Rabbie Burns “Address To Haggis”, drawing and sharpening a knife at the line “His knife see rustic Labour dicht” and cutting into the Haggis upon the line “ An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht”. Once toasted with a glass of Scotch, the Haggis is then served alongside traditional neeps and tatties.
Following the meal, a series of toasts and speeches are made by the host and guests whilst coffee, tea and whisky is served. Traditional toasts include one to Rabbie Burns himself, often reciting his life story and poetry.
The most common toast of the evening is the “Address to Lassies”, an opportunity for the gentlemen to give a humorous and heartfelt speech to the women in attendance. Often thanking them for their hard work whilst also allowing for a little teasing.
This is often followed by the “Toast to Laddies”, an equally humorous reply to the gents by the ladies in attendance. This toast often replies and addresses the points made in the prior toast in a humorous fashion. In order to land the best jokes, the two speakers of these toasts will collaborate before the night.
As the night draws to a close, the guests gather to sing Rabbie Burns most popular piece of work, “Auld Lang Syne” hand in hand.