Scotland

Five alternative ways to celebrate the Bard's birthday

Jimmy Logan and haggis

It's that time of year again.

At Burns Suppers round the world, Scots will bash their neeps, devour a haggis, crack open a bottle of whisky and toast their national bard.

It's a tradition which has lasted more than 200 years but maybe it's time to do something different to mark Robert Burns' birthday?

1. Take to the streets

Image copyright Colin Hattersley

You could join the 10,000 people who are expected to fill the streets of Dumfries on Sunday to watch the town's annual Burns Night carnival.

Lanterns, samba dancing and about 4,000 children from local schools will feature in the colourful parade.

Part of the Big Burns Supper Festival, the carnival will streamed live on the winter festival's website.

2. Take a #Burnsie

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Forget selfies, Monday will see the dawn of the "burnsie".

Photographs of people next to their favourite statue of the poet will form part of a collage that will be unveiled on Burns Night.

It shouldn't be too difficult a task - after Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, there are more statues of Robert Burns around the world than any other non-religious figure.

Alternatively you could take a picture of yourself celebrating the Bard - maybe tucking into a plate of haggis, neeps and tatties, or dressed in their finest Scottish attire.

Social media users can upload the pictures to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #Burnsie.

3. Hunt for your haggis

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Before you sit down to your haggis on Monday, you need to catch it.

And on Sunday hundreds of people are expected to gather in Selkirk to hunt the elusive beast.

Organisers of the Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt said children should be armed with a "baggie" net for their vital supper-catching mission on Selkirk Hill.

Davie Scott told The Southern Reporter: "Although Haggis numbers are good, we are keen for adults to operate a catch-and-release method of hunting so that the youngsters have as much opportunity as possible to develop their haggis-hunting skills."

4. Supper in the Bard's cottage

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For the first time in more than 200 years, a Burns Supper will be held at the cottage where Scotland's national bard was born.

Priced at £250, just 30 coveted tickets have gone on sale for the event at Burns Cottage in Alloway.

It is the final event in a series of celebrations held to celebrate his birthday at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Its director, David Hopes, said: "The first Burns' Supper in 1801 was actually held in July to coincide with the death of Burns and was intended to 'offer a tribute to the departed genius'.

"A few years later, the event moved to the Bard's birthday instead, and so started many of the traditions which, 200 years on, are still central to our celebrations - conviviality, the serving of haggis, reciting Burns' works and a few drams."

5. A traditional Burns supper (without the sheep's stomach)

Image copyright Getty Images

If the meat feast is not for you, Rabbie's home village will play host to what is billed as the world's first vegan Burn's Supper on Monday.

The meal at the Brig a Doon House Hotel in Alloway will feature a mushroom salad and vegetarian broth as well as a vegetarian haggis, bashed neeps and tatties.

A vegan chocolate and Drambuie mousse will round off the formal dinner.

Meanwhile in Edinburgh a gluten free Burns Supper - which also claims to be a world-first - is planned at the Roamin' Nose Bistro.

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