SUMMIT — As a poet of the people, Robert Burns would have enjoyed that his life is remembered annually with good poetry, good drink and good company. The Clan Currie Society and the Rampant Lion Pipe Band of Basking Ridge certainly plan to have all three in abundance at their Burns Night celebration.
The annual observance of the Burns’ birthday will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour at 7 p.m. followed by dinner and entertainment at 8 p.m.
According to event co-chair Robert Currie, “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this dinner with the fantastic Rampant Lion Pipe Band. The Band has been our partner at so many area Scottish celebrations, especially our annual Tartan Day on Ellis Island program.”
Rampant Lion Pipe Major and co-chair, David Palladino added, “I can’t think of a better way to liven up the otherwise gloomy month of January than with a rousing evening of food, drink, music and dance, all presented in the wonderful Scots tradition of a Burns Supper.”
Celebrated annually on, or about, Burns’s birthday on Jan. 25, Burns Suppers traditionally adhere to a time honored format which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.
The evening will also feature performances by “Pipes of Christmas” favorites, Local Hero (Paul Woodiel/fiddle, Susie Petrov/piano, and Christopher Layer/uilleann pipes) as well as the Rampant Lion Band. Traditional Scottish Country Dancing will also be a hallmark of the evening with such traditional dances as the Gay Gordons, the Dashing White Sergeant, and Strip the Willow. No experience is necessary to take to the floor!
The evening concludes with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”
A Centuries Old Tradition
The history of the Burns Supper goes back to the poet’s birthplace of Alloway, Scotland where, five years after his death in 1796, nine of his friends gathered in a cottage to pay tribute to his memory. They continued to meet annually at various times of the year until Burn’s official biographer, Dr. James Currie, had established the correct date of his birth. It was not long before the practice of meeting on this date was being observed throughout Scotland.
The basic format for the evening has remained unchanged since that time and begins when the host invites the company to receive the haggis, which is piped into the ballroom with great fanfare and then presented to the audience via the reading of Burns’ classic ode to Scotland’s native dish. The haggis will again be provided by one of the area’s finest purveyors of Scots delicacies, Stewart’s of Kearny.
In addition to the haggis, which is accompanied by neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes), the evening’s menu, or Bill O’ Fare as it is better known, includes Cock-A-Leekie Soup, haggis, and an entrée choice of Prime Rib or Salmon and Scotch Trifle for dessert.
The cost for the Burns Supper is $100 per person, which includes a five-course meal, whisky tasting and Scottish entertainment. A silent auction, featuring an array of Scots-themed items, will help support both organizations.
The Grand Summit Hotel is also offering a block of rooms at the discounted rate of $99/night for all Burns Night guests. Simply ask for the Burns Night rate when making your reservation.
Dinner reservations may be made by mailing a check made payable to The Clan Currie Society, specifying the entrée selection of salmon or prime rib, along with a name, address, and phone number, to: The Clan Currie Society, P.O. Box 541, Summit, NJ 07902-0541. For further information, contact Clan Currie at 1-908-273-3509 or visit www.clancurriegathering.com.