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How our Scottish team celebrate Burns Night

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Haggis, kilts and bagpipes. Burns Night is a chance to enjoy Scottish traditions, celebrate the country’s legacy and recognise the famous poet Robert Burns. Each year, on the 25th January, Scots gather together to enjoy some traditional dancing, recite their favourite poetry and indulge in some good ol’ haggis and neeps!

To celebrate, we sat down with our teams from across Scotland to understand what Burns Night means to them, and how they celebrate.

Kevin Maley, head of Scotland & North region:

Kevin’s memories of Burns Night go all the way back to when he was six years old. Taking place in a local community centre in Glasgow, he recalls “the atmosphere, the smell of the food, the traditions and the stirring sound of the bagpipes. I’ve been to many Burns suppers since, but this first experience as a young child will be one that I never forget.”

These community celebrations are typically very traditional. Starting with the ‘Selkirk Grace’, a well-known thanksgiving, the bagpipers (in full Highland dress, of course) then begin as the cook presents the haggis to the room, with attendees standing proudly and clapping along to the music. “What follows is the ‘address to a haggis’. For anyone who hasn’t witnessed this before, it’s an incredible recitation which involves the speaker dramatically plunging a knife into the haggis. Following this, everyone toasts the haggis before it’s served with tatties (mashed potatoes) and swede turnip (neeps),” explains Kevin.

Hamish Spencer-Nairn, head of Perth office:

“Unsurprisingly, Scotland’s cities are full to the brim with festivities on Burns Night,” says Hamish. “You can choose from traditional parties – typically black tie and kilts with lots of poetry – or a more modern approach to the celebrations, with fancy dress and plenty of whisky. Perhaps more of a surprise is that his Burns Night celebrations stepped up when he moved to France. “Our neighbours would host large Burns Night parties which went on late and involved haggis, tartan, bagpipes and whisky,” says Hamish, “they loved it!”

David Law, head of Edinburgh office:

For David, Burns Night is all about celebrating with his family. “We dress our children in the family tartans for school, and then we spend the evening playing Scottish music, toasting the haggis and having a mini ceilidh in our living room.”
His first experience of Burns Night was after he met his Scottish wife and was invited to a large ceilidh; “I had to quickly pick up the dances on the spot, the whole time trying not to fall over myself or someone else!”

Ian Ely-Corbett, sales consultant, Edinburgh office:

Also opting for a quieter Burns Night is Ian from our Edinburgh office. The first Burns supper was held in 1801 and while new traditions have found their way into Scottish culture over the years, the sentiment of the day – and importance of food in the celebrations – remains the same. This is why Ian spends his evening cooking a traditional Burns Night dinner at home on 25th. Learn more about a traditional Burns Supper menu here.

Edwina de Klee, senior associate director, Edinburgh office:

You’ll always find Edwina celebrating Burns Night with her husband and friends, ensuring all Dry January commitments are thrown out the window. “I bring out all the tartan, light every candle, and cook a comforting meal – with haggis as a side, of course. One of our friends must recite ‘Ode to the Haggis’ with dramatic flair, before we launch ourselves into a game of ‘Burns, Burns of Burns?’”. For those less familiar with this not-so-traditional game, each player has to guess who said a random selection of phrases: was it a) Robert Burns, b) The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns, or c) someone famous with sideburns. “Needless to say, it’s a very jolly evening!” adds Edwina.

Interested in finding out more about property in Scotland? View homes currently on the market here, read our Edinburgh residential market review, or speak to one of our knowledgeable local estate agents today.

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