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Team Worldwide’s top four traditions for Burns Night!

25th January 2020

We spoke to some of the team to find out what they love about celebrating Burns Night.

This week at Worldwide Cancer Research, we’re celebrating the birthday of our National Bard, Robert Burns - or Rabbie as we like to call him. It’s a date that’s been acknowledged with great flair in our charity’s birthplace, Scotland, for almost 300 years and is when we toast to the legendary poet and celebrate his life’s work on 25 January.

Traditionally, Scots mark the event with a Burns Supper which consists of haggis (don’t ask us what’s in it!), whisky and poems - with lots of fun and laughter too.

Burns’ inspiring songs and poetry have touched the hearts of millions from Scotland to Singapore – and we’re proud to be Scotland’s only cancer research charity funding the brightest researchers and boldest ideas at home and across the world to kickstart cancer cures and save the lives of the people you love.

To mark the Bard’s 261st birthday, here are just a few of our fondest memories of Burns Night – what are yours?

Emma: “Last year when I was studying abroad, I cooked my French family a traditional (kind of – it was vegan!) Burns Supper. They were really taken with the word ‘tatties’ and insisted on never using the word potatoes again. I managed to convince them that the non-vegan, traditional haggis was actually ‘un petit monstre’ who lives up in the Highlands. A Burns Night I’ll cherish forever”.

Alan: “Every year, my primary school organised a Burns poetry competition to learn a poem and write your own. It was a big event for everyone and one of my favourite memories from my primary school days.”

Rachel: “My favourite memories of Burns include the poetry competitions we had at school. Accompanied by the sound of bagpipes, the school would then serve up a traditional supper at lunchtime only to be followed by yet another supper at home! But the best thing of all is listening to my dad reciting some of Burns’ best work – he’s brilliant at speaking the Scots language!”

Karen: “Burns for me is all about the haggis (boiled, never microwaved), neeps, tatties and Irn Bru! I really like haggis and happily eat our national dish throughout the year - but it’s an absolute must on Burns night. One year I’d love to go to a Burns ceilidh.”

How do you celebrate Burns Night? We’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch by emailing stories@worldwidecancerresearch.org or calling +44 (0)300 777 7910.

And if you’d like to learn a Burns poem, the ‘Selkirk Grace’ is a well-known verse that’s said before tucking into the Burns Supper and ‘Address to a Haggis’ is traditionally recited after the haggis has been set on the table. You can find them, and other Burns pieces here.

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