Everyone was a Scot – at least for a day – last week as Robbie Burns Day celebrations took over the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
The Jan. 25 celebrations marked the birthday of “Scotland’s favourite son” Robert Burns, a Scottish poet and lyricist widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.
Members of the Crescent Beach Royal Canadian Legion Branch #240 hosted a celebration for the Ploughman Poet, featuring a young Scottish dance group, the Crescent Beach Pipe Band and a proper Scottish meal, featuring “neeps” (turnips), “tatties” (potatoes), beef and of course, haggis (a savoury pudding containing sheep’s organs and oatmeal, boiled and served in a casing).
“It was a hugely successful evening,” said pipe-band member Doug Milne, who also helped organize and run the event. “It’s a big day for the Scots.”
Milne, 75, noted that fellow pipe band member Brian Porter did a fantastic job of honouring the Scottish delicacy by reciting Burns’ Address to A Haggis in Gaelic.
The annual event doubled as a fundraiser for the local pipe band, which plans to attend the 2015 World Pipe Championship in Scotland.
Not far away from the legion, the White Rock Tam o’Shanter Scottish Country Dancers hosted a celebration at Star of the Sea Hall. The event proved a success with more than 300 people attending the festivities.
Named after Burns’ narrative poem Tam o’Shanter, the group marked 20 years on the Peninsula and of hosting the popular event.
Cheryl Jorgensen, who has been with the group for 10 years, noted the dancers were just one part of the evening’s entertainment.
“We also had the RCMP Pipe Band and they were fantastic, all dressed in their red serge,” she told Peace Arch News.
The night also featured a pageant – led by Kyle Mitchell dressed as a town crier – and included a replica of the inn where Burns wrote many of his famed poems.
“We called it the Tam o’Shanter Inn, although that wasn’t its real name,” Jorgensen said.
And of course, guests were treated to the traditional Scottish meal of haggis, with all the fixings.
“It was delicious,” Jorgensen said.
The White Rock Elks also hosted a celebration for the Scottish poet. The sell-out event drew nearly 100 people to the South Surrey gathering place and featured the ever-popular haggis, as well music provided by a piper and a drummer. Highland dancers entertained the crowd, as well as DJ Johnny Twocoats.