Burns Supper

Robert Burns
Robert Burns, Scottish Poet

Ariesna and I just got back from our local Burns Supper. For those of you not entirely up on your Scottish culture, this meal is held in honor of Robert Burns. To quote the BBC:

The Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish life, a night to celebrate the life and genius of the national Bard. Suppers can be everything from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner full of pomp and circumstance.

The Burns Supper we attend is put on by our local scottish heritage society, HAGGIS. It is a friendly gathering with bagpipe music, dancing and much fellowship1. Some years are more formal than others, this year it was a bit more relaxed. Two of the toasts were given by members of Wylde Nept. One of those was the toast to the lassies and it was a lovely bit of poetry that he came up with. Poetry just filled with imagery, graphic imagery. If you’ve ever been to one of their performances or heard some of their recordings; you’ll know exactly what sort of imagery. *wink, wink*2 The deserts at the supper were quite good.

Wait a minute, why am I talking about desert and not about the haggis? Well, I tried haggis the first year I attended the Burns Supper…. Now I tend go to the nearby Czech Village Restaurant and enjoy a different nationality’s speciality cooking. Though I understand this year’s haggis was supposed to be good…. If you like that sort of thing. Anyhoo, myself and a few others who enjoy aspects of the Burns Supper other than the haggis headed to the Czech Village Restaurant where we had a lovely meal. Then we hurried back to the Burns Supper, got a bit of the deserts (which as previously mentioned were quite good) and listened to the toasts (also previously mentioned)3. Then there was much dancing and the raffle.

The raffle is one way HAGGIS raises funds for its various good works (a scholarship, grants, etc…). Members of the society donate prizes and you buy raffle tickets for chances to win. They divvy the donations into 3 tables of adult prizes and one just for the kids. The “A” table is where all the scotch goes and any other higher-end items. “B” table items are still nice, but usually not as expensive as “A” and so on for “C”. Additionally, there’s usually one big prize of the night that doesn’t get put out on the “A” table until late in the evening. If you buy about $10 worth of tickets, odds are good that you’ll go home with something though there’s no telling what it’ll be. This year & last, Ariesna & I have plunked down $20 for tickets. Last year, we struck out and didn’t go home with anything at all4. Then this year our tickets were on fire! We won:

  • a tartan blanket
  • a shot glass with the scottish lion on the side
  • a stuffed animal (a small dog holding a heart which says “I Wuf You!”)

And those are only the prizes we kept for ourselves. We also ended up winning tonight’s big prize, a replica of Scottish Claymore5! Since I already had one, we gave with to AWelkin and her husband, both of whom seemed quite interested in it. We also had another “A” table winning ticket which we gave to our friends E&D. They picked themselves up a bottle of scotch. Then the raffle got down to the final prize of the night, a boxed “christmas cake”. We also had the winning ticket for that and Ariesna tried to give it to AWelkin’s friends D&P but they didn’t want it. While Ariesna was doing that, one of the guys (George) from Wylde Nept and run up, claiming the prize. I’m not sure if Ariesna had noticed that but she went up and turned in the ticket. George ran the cake back over to Michelle, dropped to one knee and tried to give the cake to her. She resisted but he was being insistant; so I decided to come to her rescue. I walked over and told him that she’s my wife and he can keep the cake. Everybody had a good chuckle and we left for home soon afterwards. 🙂

1 Blathering on with your friends.
2 Nothing too blatant, but very obivous.
3 Yes, I am rambling a bit but then I’ve been sitting near a loudspeaker playing scottish music for the past couple of hours and my brain’s still shaken up a bit.
4 Ok, that’s not strickly true. Last year, our friend Greg was along for the supper. He had to leave sooner than we did and left us his tickets. We won a bottle of wine with his ticket and we’re still holding onto it for him.
5 This is a two-handed sword about 5-6 feet long.

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