THOUSANDS of people across the world will be sitting down to drink a dram, read some verse and stab a haggis on Burns Night.
But there are lots of interesting things about the occasion you probably don’t know.
So to mark the Bard’s big day, here are some fascinating facts to whet your appetite:
- The first Burns Supper was held in 1801 on the fifth anniversary of the Bard’s death at his cottage in Alloway, which had been turned into a pub. The nine men had such a merry time they agreed to meet every year. They were so merry they held it on January 29, four days after the poet’s birthday.
- Robert Burns is the third most common non-religious figure to have their own statue in the world (after Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus).
That’s mainly down to his huge following in the former Soviet Union, where the Burns was adored by socialists.
- The largest Burns Supper took place last year catering for a staggering 70,000 people.
Pupils across Glasgow’s schools took part in the record-breaking tribute to the Bard which involved 500 individual haggis, 1.3 tonnes of potatoes and 500kg of neeps.
Watch our resident Australian taste haggis for the first time… and attempt the ‘Address to a Haggis…
- If you like a nip with your Burns Supper that isn’t of the whisky variety then there are plenty of options to spice things up.
Indian restaurants now commonly make haggis curry dishes, like haggis pakora, to celebrate the Bard.
V Deep Indian restaurant in Edinburgh even has a special Burns Supper planned tomorrow night, including a haggis naan eating competition.
- There’s a rival supper to celebrate one of the more infamous figures of Scottish poetry.
William Topaz McGonagall’s works have provoked much derision – his poem The Tay Bridge Disaster has been called the worst in British history. But fans of his have started an alternative to Burns Night, in which McGonagall’s own tribute to Burns is read.
- Not everyone gets Burns Suppers right – in fact some have made a right royal mess of it.
The most famous royal in-law of our time, Pippa Middleton, was criticised for her guide to Burns suppers.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister was slammed after comparing the Immortal Memory, the evening’s central speech praising Burns’ genius, to a “best man’s speech”.
- The world’s biggest haggis was created by Scottish food firm Hall’s two years ago. It weighed as much as a small car.It took 25 and a half hours to cook and contained 1,537lb of pork and pork offal, 734lb of oatmeal, 51lb of onions, and 86lb of seasoning.
Watch the world’s biggest haggis getting made!
- It’s been a success in Brazil, Russia and Canada – but it seems Baghdad has banned Burns.
Scot Stuart Paton tried to hold a supper in the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital in 2009.
But a ban on haggis imports meant the night had to be cancelled.
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