18th-Century Poet Robert Burns Inspires Global Haggis Feast

The dinner tradition is carried out melodramatically by Scots all over the world on Burns’ birthday.

WORDS Epi Erichsen
January 2020

Back in 1786, Scottish poet Robert Burns penned Address to a Haggis, in which he praises the particularly Scottish dish consisting of sheep stomach stuffed with a mash of sheep’s liver, heart, lung and spices. Burns’ rollicking style—he describes the dish (in translation) as having an “honest, plump face... the great chieftain of the sausage race!”—won him endearing affection among the Scots. 

The poem has come to inspire a dinner tradition carried out melodramatically by Scots all over the world on Burns’ birthday (January 25). Guests are greeted by bagpipes before the reciting of the poem, says Christopher Tait, a famous Burns impersonator. “It’s fun and great theater, watching the beastie [haggis] being stabbed open to release its lovely aromas!”

Tait notes that when one Burns dinner is wrapping up in Asia, another is beginning in Scotland, making for a 24-hour feast around the world.

Epi Erichsen

Epi Erichsen is the editorial assistant for Ink’s American Way and Celebrated Living magazines. Her favorite assignments have included writing about old forts for sale in Portugal and interviewing Star Wars’ Anthony Daniels for My Travel Tales.


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