Robbie Burns Celebration

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Father and son, Graham and Malcom Cox, along with Pipe Major, Marjorie Zander

Chestermere Whitecappers Hold Burns Supper

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Whitecappers celebrating ‘Robbie Burns Day’

January 25th marks the annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Robbie Burns), was a Scottish poet and lyricist who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide.
He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.
On January 27th, the Chestermere Whitecappers held a celebration of Robbie Burns complete with authentic Scottish entertainment and food. Every Burns Supper has its own special form and flavour, though there are probably more similarities than differences among these gastro-literary affairs. Burns suppers may be formal or informal. Both typically include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in Address to a Haggis), Scotch whisky, and the recitation of Burns’s poetry.
Everyone stood as the main course was brought in. This was, as is always, a haggis on a large dish. Graham Cox led, followed by son Malcolm Cox and Marjorie Zander – pipe major with the Calgary International pipe band. It is interesting to know that Calgary is the only airport in the world with its own pipe band. They proceeded to the host’s table, where the haggis was laid down and the elder Mr. Cox recited the Address to a Haggis. At the end of the poem, a Scotch whisky toast was proposed to the haggis, then the company sat down to the meal.
When the meal reaches the end and coffee is served, various speeches and toasts are given. Finally the host will call on one of the guests to give the vote of thanks, after which everyone is asked to stand, join hands, and sing Auld Lang Syne bringing the evening to an end.
Scottish Canadians have embraced Robert Burns as a kind of patron poet and mark his birthday with festivities. ‘Robbie Burns Day’ is celebrated from Newfoundland and Labrador to Nanaimo. The first recorded Burns Suppers took place in 1801 and featured a few close friends of the writer who got together to mark the fifth anniversary of his death. They couldn’t possibly have known that, hundreds of years later, people from across the globe continue to gather in pubs and homes to re-create their tribute.

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