Is it just me? Or is Burns Night bonkers asks MARION MCGILVARY


Sorry, but I just don’t see the point of Burns Night. As if January wasn’t bad enough, the 25th brings more reason to be miserable for anyone born north of the Border: Haggis.

I’m a true Scot, with a Glasgow vocabulary and a tartan that the men in my family trot out as often as I do my Jimmy Choos, but I just don’t get Burns Night.

You might imagine it’s easy to escape the event, but no, in church halls anywhere, the 25th of January brings out the skirl of bagpipes accompanied by bad food and worse poetry.

Only we Scots would have a cultural celebration that involves an ode to offal.

OK, it’s Rabbie Burns birthday, but call me a Sassenach, why are there no balloons? Where is the cake? A concoction of innards in a sheep’s stomach? Really? That’s the big Scottish culinary gift to the world? Served with what was known in my house as skirly mirly — mashed turnip and mashed tatties (potatoes). Now I actually like that. On any regular day, served with the real Scottish national dish of boiled mince, but am I going to throw a party for it?

All this before we get to the obligatory Dead Poets Society recitations and the pipes. Oh the pipes . . .

I know it’s a celebration of my Scottish heritage, but surely we can expand it a wee bit from men in skirts with no underpants on and a poem about a mouse? There are many fine living Scottish poets we could toast, and maybe we could have smoked salmon instead of the haggis?

I admit I love the music. I still get all choked up by anything from the Burns songbook.

But we Scots are a sentimental nation. And if nothing else, we can be grateful we’re not English, whose culture is celebrated by, erm, Morris dancing. Pass the Haggis, please.


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