Two Robbie Burns celebrations pipe in the haggis Monday

Do you enjoy poetry, bagpipes, haggis and maybe Scotch whisky? York’s Stong College and McLaughlin College are both hosting celebrations in honour of Scottish poet Robert Burns, author of the popular “Auld Lang Syne”, on Monday. Robbie Burns Day is celebrated around the world on the date of the poet’s birthday by Scottish people and lovers of his poetry.

Stong College is holding a Robbie Burns dinner Jan. 25, from 5 to 7pm, in the Hédi Bouraoui Master’s Dining Room, 101 Stong College. McLaughlin College is holding their 18th annual Robbie Burns celebration the same night starting at 7pm in the McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College. That means, diehard Robbie Burns fans can attend both.

Neil Sinclair (BA ’72), (right) an alumnus and Fellow of Stong College as well as a lawyer, and Andrew Weaver (left), a York English professor specializing in contemporary Canadian and American poetry and poetics, will host the Stong College dinner. Stong College’s event will include poetry readings, a little information about the life and importance of Robert Burns, and much more.

At McLaughlin College, there will be readings by poetry contestants of the annual McLaughlin Poetry Contest, which is open to all members of York except faculty. The evening will feature the announcement of winners and prize giving. Following the prize giving, it will be on to the traditional Robbie Burns celebration. A piper will pipe in the haggis, with the reading of a Burns poem in praise of that delicious winter dish, after which there will be Scottish music and a good time had by all.

The Robbie Burns celebration originated in the late 18th century in Ayrshire, Scotland, when friends of the deceased poet gathered in memoriam for supper. These suppers usually include haggis, Scotch whisky, poems, speeches and plenty of fun. 

For more information, visit the Stong College and the McLaughlin College Web sites.