Piper Michael McLetchie pipes while MLA Don MacIntyre and his hife Maggie dance to the traditional Scottish music.

Robbie Burns Day celebrates life and works of poet

The Sylvan Lake Legion hosted its 23rd Robbie Burns dinner on Jan. 24

Between 70 and 80 people came out to the Sylvan Lake Legion to celebrate Scotland’s greatest poet, Robbie Burns.

The Legion’s 23rd annual dinner is one of thousands that take place across the world to celebrate the life and works of the prolific poet.

The night is full of music thanks to the Scottish bagpipes, dancing, poetry and food – complete with the Scottish delicacy haggis.

“If anyone tells you they don’t like haggis, they are wrong,” joked piper Michael McLetchie.

As is customary with Robbie Burns dinners, which always take place on or around Jan. 25, the haggis was piped in and “Address to a Haggis” is recited before dinner can start.

McLetchie gave an animated recital of the poem, which had the audience members enthralled.

Former president of the Ladies Auxillary, Lisa Sweet, called McLetchie’s performance “just great.”

“I love watching him recite [Burns], he really gets into it,” said Sweet.

Supper was done by the members of the Ladies Auxiliary and consisted of salad, chappit tatties (mashed potatoes with chopped greens), bashed neeps (mashed turnips with spices), pease (Middle English for peas), roast beef, haggis and an apple tart for dessert.

Highland dancers from Bain School of Dancing entertained the audience with beautiful, and enthusiastic moves. All of the young dancers at the event compete at a national level, and have many awards to accompany them.

Of the 23 years the Sylvan Lake Legion has been hosting a Robbie Burns night, the Bain School of Dancing has attended and danced for 22 years.

Over the course of the night, the event followed with a traditional program consisting of many toasts, which the Legion provided tomato juice for.

“I’m not going to say why, I’ll leave it to your imagination, just why the Scots love a toast,” Master of Ceremonies, and Sylvan Lake-Innisfail MLA Don MacIntyre said.

The night ended with the singing of the Burns classic “Auld Lang Syne” and some ceildh dancing.

Robbie Burns supper was first held in his memory on July 21, 1801 five years after the poet’s death at the age of 37. In 1803 it was celebrated on what was believed to be his birthday, Jan. 29 and was later moved to Jan. 25 after discovering his correct birth date in the parish records.


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The haggis is piped in and put on display before the “Address to a Haggis” is recited.

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