Burns Night celebrates

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Scottish heritage in Panama

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Saturday 25th January will see the 5th Burns Night held by the St Andrews Society of Panama. Robert Burns is the national poet of Scotland, and is much loved and honored to this day. Each year on this date, which is the anniversary of Burns’ birth, all around the world Scots and those who enjoy the Scots culture come together to celebrate his life and works. This event has proved hugely popular in preceding years with tickets selling quickly and it is expected that this year will be no different. It is a fantastic night of fun and laughter.

A typical Burns Night event has a protocol, which is as follows;

The Master of Ceremonies says the Selkirk Grace, which is a prayer attributed to Burns and gives thanks for the food to be eaten.

A bagpiper then pipes in the haggis. Haggis is a traditional Scottish meat dish made from oats, onion, spices lamb heart, liver and lungs, and tastes rather like a peppery sausage.

The “Address to a Haggis” is made in which Burn’s poem of the same name is recited to the guests and during which the haggis is theatrically sliced open with a ceremonial knife and the contents exposed. This is usually followed with a toast, with whisky, to the Haggis.

After a meal of haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) which we here in Panama accompany with chicken, the “Immortal Memory” is given. This is usually a summary of Burn’s life, and beliefs and underlines why Burn’s should be remembered.

A “Toast to the Lassies”, which is given by one brave gentleman, follows the Immortal Memory. Traditionally this was for the gentleman to extoll the virtues of women and give thanks for them. Now a-days however it is usually humorous but not offensive, and contains a few of the usual male complaints about the fairer sex. A toast is made to the Ladies’ health.

This is then followed by “The Reply”, in which a lady replies to those statements made by the gentleman and gets in a few humorous comments and points of view of her own in return.

Scottish dancers at a Burns Night celebration.

Scottish dancers at a Burns Night celebration.

There is also usually a recital of some of Burns’ works. Here in Panama this often is of one or two of his songs. Also added are one or two Scottish dances for guests to join in if they feel like it. However this is not a traditional part of the Burns Night supper and something done here largely by popular demand.

So for those of you, who would like to try a little Scottish culture, please come along. This year’s event will be held at the Tryp Hotel in Albrook. Tickets are $65 each and include a three course meal, a raffle , DJ and an Open Bar. The event starts at 7pm and finishes at 1am. Dress is cocktail. For tickets contact 69837990 (English), 6613 2977 (Spanish) or email standrewspanama@gmail.com. For all the latest news see facebook www.facebook.com/standrewspanama

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