Monday, January 26, 2009

Burn's Day

Today (well, yesterday, the 25th) was Burn's Night in Scotland, a celebration of the most famous of Scots poets, Robert Burns. Scots the world over celebrate with a traditional "Burn's Night Supper" of haggis, neaps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). Outside of Scotland, Burns is best known as the songwriter of "Auld Lang Syne." Inside Scotland, he's probably more appreciated for his poetry, like "A Man's a Man For A' That," which comments on the fundamental equality of human beings regardless of class; "Tam O'Shanter," which tells the story of a drunken reveller coming back home through a graveyard, and "Holy Willie's Prayer," a satire on the hypocrisy of one of the religious figures in his area. His poems have a witty earthiness that somehow goes with the Scots character, the kind of earthiness you might also find in a good single malt. Due to the time I spent getting in the concrete blocks, I had to settle for what we had in the cupboard -- a cheap sherry, not worthy of his memory. But tomorrow, I might pass by Spec's on the way home and grab a dram of something better. Pity there'll be no haggis to go with it.

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