I didn’t really know what a ‘Burns’ night actually was. All I knew was that i had to wear something tartan, and it was a dinner for the seniors at a high school about 50 mins down the road. But it was so much more…

I jumped off the bus from the hockey ‘trip’ and slammed on my tartans as fast as i could. I knew I looked ridiculous, but I had heard it was a fun evening so I thought nobody would mind.

The other gappies had gone earlier as the bus that I was on was arriving back at the school quite late.

The taxi driver arrived. “Dave”. What a living legend! As pure a scotsman as they come he was. Aye, aye. We hit it off straight away. He talked to me the whole way – although I only Me and Davecaught about half of it! But he did manage to tell me what a ‘burns’ night actually is. It’s a night of celebration to honour the scottish bard and national hero, Robert Burns. To an outsider, it can look very ridiculous. They recite poetry (and songs!) in ‘Scots’, which is their old traditional language. I deadset could not understand a word they were speaking. It was hilarious! So Dave dropped me off at the front of the school, me still looking ridiculous (that’s Dave on the right).

When i entered, i noticed that every single guy was wearing a kilt! And all the wee lassies were wearing dresses and a little piece of tartan ribbon in their hair. The school looked like something out of Harry Potter! The pic below is of a simple walkway!

hallway.jpgThe dining hall was exactly as it looks in Harry Potter. All the old portraits of previous headmasters, the old wooden tables and seats running in four lines and the ‘head’ table up the front for all of the teachers. They had the names of all of the head boys and girls names inscribed on wooden panels on the walls. I noticed names dating back to pre – 1850’s! It is probably older than that! It had a huge ceiling with old wooden rafters etc. Just watch harry potter again, but minus the enchanted ceiling and it would be exactly the same! On the left is a walkway.

As they bring out the haggis (which is pretty much just all of the lambs yukky bits minced and cooked inside a pigs gut – see my post about haggis or google it), they have this big ceremony, which involves actually singing (yes singing!) TO THE HAGGIS!!! Here’s one of the verses from the burns night:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.

I’m just as confused as you are!

I actually tried haggis! Here’s the proof!
HAGGIS Initiation!

We (the 200+ students) then listened to ‘the toast to the lassies’, by two boys. It was a long poem they had written, and it was hilarious! Also quite offensive, but still hilarious!

Then was the response from the lassies – the toast to the lads!

Then was the traditional scottish dancing! I was completely lost at first, but was dancing in a threesome (as is customary for this type of dance) with a guy and and a girl, and they were great in showing me how to do it. I was matching it with the best of them in no time at all! Ha ha. Most fun i’ve had in ages and ages.

Here’s a pic of us gappies (+ the aussie gappie that was at the ‘host’ school) in our ‘tarts’. Notice i am the only one not wearing a kilt!

Gappies in tartan Gappies in tartan

Me in tartan -  burns night

We called a taxi to go home, and, amazingly, got the exact same taxi driver! We had a gud ul cha, (whatever the hell that means) and then he gave us his personal number so we can ring him for next time!

To sum up, this was one of the funnest nights i’ve ever had!        🙂