Prime Minister Theresa May has been on the receiving end of some serious flak after a gaffe-strewn lead up to her own Burns Night celebrations.

The names of several prominent Scottish figures were spelled incorrectly on the guest list. She then went on to describe Burns Night as a celebration of the "enduring union" between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

It isn't really. It's a celebration of Scotland's national poet.

Here's a few other things you might want to know to ensure your own plans go without a blunder.

 

When is it?

January 25. The day Robert Burns was born in 1759. The first celebrations were held on the anniversary of his death, July 21 1796, but these were was later moved to mark his birth. Events are generally held throughout the week and on the nearest weekend.

 

So, er, who was Robert Burns?

As my old English teacher used to say, never be afraid to ask the most obvious question because the chances are that others want to ask it too. Robert Burns is widely regarded as Scotland's national poet. His most famous work is probably Auld Lang Syne. There are hundreds of Burns quotes that you might not even know are his:

 

"The best laid plans or mice and men often go awry"

"Dare to be honest and fear no labour"

 

The above a just a couple that are no doubt hanging on walls of numerous pubs both north and south of the border.

 

What do you serve at a Burns Night supper?

The traditional fare is haggis, neaps and tatties (swede and potato) served with a whisky sauce. You would traditionally accompany this with a dram or so of Scotch. For dessert try a traditional cranachan – cream, fruit, oatmeal and, er, whisky. Basically, stock up on your Scotch.

 

What about the entertainment?

Burns suppers can be quite formal affairs with a running order that includes the saying of the Selkirk Grace. The piping in of the haggis sees it delivered on a platter, accompanied by a piper, the chef and the host (who then addresses the haggis). The meal is followed by Burns recitals before the night is topped off with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

 

 

Anything else?
You can break with tradition and offer something more modern for your guests such as a Scottish based pub quiz, music playlist or by creating a Scotch-based cocktails, just like these ones we prepared earlier.