The Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center is bringing the tradition of a Scottish Burns supper to NMU as a fundraiser for the Folk in Schools Initiative.
The Burns supper will be held on at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25 in the Great Lakes Rooms in the upper levels of the University Center.
The event will include an assorted buffet of traditional Scottish foods including haggis, as well as traditional music, poetry recitations and speeches.
“A Burns supper is a traditional Scottish event every Jan. 25, celebrating the life and poetry of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet,” Dan Truckey, director of the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center, said.
Robert Burns is an 18th century Scottish poet who is renowned for his poems and songs. He is also known for his controversial positions on religion and morality. His more popular collection of poems called “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect” influenced every social status of his time.
He was a poet of the people, spending his later years collecting and writing the words to traditional Scottish songs for no payment, but simply to do service to his country, according to Britannica’s academic website.
“In the early 19th century, Burns appreciation societies began hosting dinners on the anniversary of Burns’ birth,” Truckey said.
According to the World Burns Club website, these celebrations honor the poet and his contributions to Scotland as well as poke fun at the less than conventional poet.
Traditional Burns suppers feature a strict menu that is comprised of haggis, cock-a-leekie soup, Scottish trifles, as well as bannocks and cheese which are all accompanied by either coffee or tea.
Following the meal, several of Burns’ poems are read aloud along with the playing of traditional Scottish music.
The original celebrations were exclusively for men, but as time went along, the Burns supper was opened to both men and women.
“We really just want to have a great time and celebrate all things Scottish for one evening,” Truckey said.
The Heritage Center’s Burns supper will be similar to the traditional Scottish celebration. Along with the expanded menu of foods that will include Arran potato salad, salmon with Tarragon and other traditional foods; there will be live bagpipe music as well as the necessary poetry recitation and speeches.
The Heritage Center is hoping to bring the celebration of Scotland’s national poet to the U.P. as well as raise money for the Folk in Schools Initiative.
The program will help to bring traditional musicians and craftsmen to the U.P. for future performances and workshops. It is a way for these artists to make connections with students to the various cultures of the U.P., Truckey said.
“We celebrate the ethnic traditions of the people of the U.P., and so this is the first thing we have done which is specifically Scottish,” Truckey said.
At the moment, there are no specific plans for making a Burns supper an annual event at NMU. The continuation of the evening in the coming years will depend on the success of this first celebration.
Tickets for the event are $40 and must be reserved in advance. Reservations must be made by Friday, Jan. 20 by calling (906) 227-1219 or by emailing, [email protected]
The ticket price covers the buffet dinner, entertainment for the evening and a donation to the Folk in Schools Initiative.