Foto: Ian McIntosh
Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight is the Night. It’s Burns Night and I wonder why I haven’t relived the tradition of Burns Night for so long. When I lived in Scotland there was no way to not celebrate Burns Night and maybe my months of „Celebrating Alcohol by not drinking it“ made me think about it again.
Traditionally the Burns Night is celebrated on January 25th not just in Scotland but wherever there was a high population of Scottish Migrants. You meet for supper and have Haggis with Neeps and Tatties (Kartoffeln und Steckrüben) and wash that down with generous amounts of Whisky.
Burns is probably best known outside of Scotland for his song „Auld Lang Syne„.
My favourite Burns Night happened in Dundee actually, one of the most unattractive areas of Scotland also called the armpit of Scotland. Working for United Distillers in Perth served me with a constant supply of alcohol which might have helped expanding my circle of friends. Dundee has a university and I had met some Spanish guys there who I was giving English lessons to. Their accent was terrible, they could hardly be understood for the life of it. Beard, Bird, Birth – it all sounded the same. So once a week I would take the bus from Perth to Dundee and we worked on their pronunciation and they were pretty unsuccessfully trying to install some Economics into my brain. We usually ended the tuition with wonderful Spanish food and complicated European art movies.
On this Burns Night my backpack was full with little Whisky Bottles, that my boss allowed me to take. They were „old stock“ meaning the labels were damaged or something and could not be used any more. I remember it was a year of heavy snow for Scotland, I stumbled through the snowy armpit and was welcomed by my Spaniards with the Traditional Haggis Supper. I love Haggis. When you forget what it is made of it’s totally fine. I had prepared a Burns Poem for each of them and we were in the middle of the merry Haggis&Whisky Supper when suddenly the electricity went out.
Not for the first time nobody had remembered to get coins for the coin operated meter so we had plenty of candles. It was such a romantic night somehow. Snowing outside, inside we were sitting in the kitchen in candlelight drinking gallons of Whisky reciting Burns poems in terrible Scots and had a great time.
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
As fair are thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a‘ the seas gang dry.
Till a‘ the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi‘ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o‘ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho‘ it were ten thousand mile!
Unfortunately no great time the next morning. Of course I had missed the last bus, had cuddled up on the Sofa in the kitchen with a blanket. No electricity also meant no heating and I had frozen stiff during the night. And then the walk of shame to work the next day but hey it was worth it and Scottish Employers especially in the Alcohol business are pretty understanding towards young girls being late and hangover for work. I mean it was Burns Night after all 😉
I still haven’t arranged a Burns Night with friends here in Munich, but will have to do with a wee dram and some poetry on my own tonight. I hope you have Poems, Haggis, candles, (no) heating, hopefully some snow and definitely gallons of Whisky.
And next year definitly a Burns Night Party! Slàinte mhath 🙂