Burns Night

"When Scotland forgets Burns, then history will forget Scotland”
J S Blackie

What Is Burns Night?

Robert Burns, Burns Night for KidsFive years after Robert Burns died, a group of his friends got together to remember him and his poetry. The tradition became established and now, every year on his birthday, 25th January, Scots all round the world celebrate Burns Night with a Burns Supper which follows a format similar to the original dinner (often with much toasting and drinking of whisky!) We've got more details of some well-loved Burns Night traditions for you to read about, plus some family-friendly ideas for your own Burns Night celebrations - everything from recipes through to printables of the Selkirk Grace and Address to a Haggis, colouring pages, and lots more, and this year you can even learn how to draw Robert Burns! Explore below. New this year we have a fun set of printables and colouring pages for younger children, which you could combine to form a mini-project, folder or notebook.

Burns Night Supper

A traditional Burns Supper will often include the following:

  • Cock-A-Leekie soup (chicken and vegetable)
  • Haggis, neeps and tatties
  • Sherry Trifle
  • Oatcakes and cheese

If you can't get hold of a haggis or would prefer not to, you could always make a meatloaf!

A plate of haggis, neeps and tatties
A plate of haggis, neeps and tatties

Format for A Burns Supper

At a grand dinner, guests are piped in by bagpipes to take their places at the dining table. The guests are welcomed by the host, who declares the celebrations open. The Selkirk Grace (see below) is read, and supper begins with a soup course (often the Scottish favourite Cock-A-Leekie soup). Now the haggis, a traditional Scottish dish (not for the faint-hearted!) is piped in from the kitchen while the guests stand and clap the haggis in. The host or an invited guest reads Burn's famous poem, Address To A Haggis, cutting open the haggis with a large knife when they reach the line "an cut you up wi' ready slight"! The haggis is eaten with mashed tatties and neeps (potatoes and turnip, swede or rutabaga.) Then there will be dessert (often sherry trifle) and oatcakes and cheese.

After dinner there will be a toast to the Queen, and one of the guests will give a short speech about Burns called "The Immortal Memory". A man makes a "Toast to the Lassies" and a lady makes a toast in reply. Guests will take turns reading Burns poems, singing Burns songs and possibly doing some Highland dancing! The party will close with everyone singing Auld Lang Syne (scroll down).

NB: Children should not browse video sharing sites unsupervised.

Ideas For Your Family Burns Night

Why not include the kids in your Burns Night celebrations, or hold a family Burns Supper? We have lots of ideas for Burns Night activities for kids below, as well as suggestions for food and printables to help your celebration go smoothly!

Robert Burns colouring page
Learn a little about Robert Burns and enjoy a collection of colouring pages, printables of all sorts, and worksheets. You can even learn to draw Robert Burns yourself!
Robert Burns Lots NEW!

Scottish flag printables
Decorate the house or table with the Scottish flag, try a Scottish flag jigsaw - or colour in some Scottish flags. Print and fold our Scots dialect booklet, or have a go at our Scots themed acrostic printables.
Scotland Flag Printables

Special Burns Night Printables

Address to a Haggis Printable

Address to a Haggis Printable

Here's a useful printable version of Robert Burn's classic poem, Address to a Haggis. Print it out for your Burns Night dinner!

Burns Night Word Cards

Burns Night Word Cards

These Burns Night word cards include all sorts of vocabulary that might be useful for your Burns Night discussions, from simple up. There are 20 cards over 4 pages in the pdf file.

Burns Night Word Search Puzzle

Burns Night Word Search Puzzle

Here's a good way to keep the kids amused while the adults enjoy a Burns Night Supper - or a fun extra activity for all! There are lots of words to find in this Burns Night word search puzzle.

More Burns Night Activities

A nice little video about Robert Burns:

Watch some Highland dancing (and have a go yourself):

Sing along to Auld Lang Syne:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
Robert Burns

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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 art 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;
And 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' 'twere ten thousand mile!

Robert Burns

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