By Adrian O’Brien
January 25th, Burns night Day, is a celebration in commemoration of Robert Burns, famous Scottish poet who penned more than 500 poems and songs before his early death in 1796. He has great influence not only in poetry but also in inspiring the founders of liberalism and socialism.
At the beginning of the event, guests were welcomed to an aged whiskey (or alternatively, an icon bru). As guests found their seats, Scottish decoration in recognition of Scottish culture and heritage was bestowed around the dining area: tartan of various colours laid on gently on each table, and the Scottish flag hung proudly, overlooking the event. Our own Peter Platypus joined in on the fun with a glass of whiskey.
As guests took their seat, the sounds of the melodic bagpipe echoed throughout the room. As the piper left, Ustinov College Principal, Glenn McGregor, gave a quick speech on Burns Night and Ustinov College. Congratulations to the GCR was also given for their participation in the planning and execution of Burns night. After this, Ode to a Haggis was done by our GCR Secretary and loved resident Scotsman, Alastair Stewart, who gave an impressive theatrical performance.
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ye tak your place,
Painche, tripe or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
As the night continued, a mixture of whiskey and wine filled glasses, while leek and potato soup filled our bellies.
The main course was a delicious fillet of chicken stuffed with haggis (more chicken than haggis sadly) wrapped with smoked bacon, tatties and neeps, served with a cream sauce; of course, our vegetarian and halal version was vegetarian wellington with the same accompaniments.
A toast to the lassies led us with mixed feelings; some interpreted it as sexist, others has funny, but in general was well received, and a toast to the lads was done as well in an impressive attempt to make a Scottish accent which was done rather well.
Our population of foreign students, though some perplexed by the event, were quite entertained by Scottish traditions and tastes, especially in the kilts. Some commented on how they never knew of Roberts Burns while others stated that they loved the poet almost religiously.
The night ended with a Cranachan cheesecake with raspberry compote, as well as jokes about the Scottish being perpetually pissed and having an attempt invasion. With a roaring laugh and beautiful bagpipes, as well as the great ceilidh dance at Ustinov College Fisher House, celebration to Burns couldn’t have been better.
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