Since 1801 a celebration of Scottish poet Robbie Burns, known as The Bard, was held; it was a memoriam hosted at Burns Cottage by his friends on the fifth anniversary of his death. This was hosted in July and eventually the tradition came to be held on or near his birthday each year, Jan. 25.
This year Carlyle was host to the annual event, joining in the 216 year old tradition, with local Freemasons of the Aba Lodge continuing the tradition.
The night’s Master of Ceremonies was Rolland Bouchard, who had the crowd in stitches with numerous jokes and a lot of Scottish humour.
With food, scotch, and entertainment, the evening was a great success.
The night follows the same program each year, and is the same from one Robbie Burns Night to the next around the world beginning with The Selkirk Grace. The piping in of the haggis is then performed before an address and toast to the haggis.
Dinner was enjoyed with a majority of attendees taking in their Robbie Burns Night and their first taste of haggis ever.
“It’s an evening steeped in tradition,” Bouchard said of the event before introducing Mark Custance to speak to the Immortal Memory and Toast to Robbie Burns. Custance spoke of Burns’ life. Following his toast, John Burnett was invited up to say a Toast to the Lassies, while Shannon Burnett followed with a reply in her Toast to the Laddies.
Madison Zandee of Drewitcz School of Dance in Estevan attended the event and performed two Highland Dances for those in attendance. Wearing traditional clothing, during Zandee’s costume change between her two dances, Troy LeBlanc read a couple of Burns’ poems for the amassed crowd.
Following her performance, Katie Miller was joined by Kathy Travis and Evan Chambers to perform a couple of well-known Scottish tunes before Regan Miller – the night’s piper – performed a Piping Medley.
Together the entire hall then sang Auld Lang Syne, also known as Times Long Gone, which was written by Burns: “Should old acquaintances be forgotten, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintances be forgotten, and days of long ago!”
Known to many around the world as the New Year’s song, it is one of the reasons why Burns is a figure of Scottish history chosen to be celebrated each year as his legacy endures.
Why is Burns’ birthday celebrated over 200 years later? Not only does it give people a reason to celebrate Scottish traditions, but Burns is considered to have been somewhat of a revolutionary in his time. Writing about republicanism, radicalism, Scottish patriotism, anticlericalism, class inequalities, gender roles, Scottish identity, and poverty, his views were contrary to the government and popular views of those in power at the time. His themes were vast, his works very well written and received, and his style using Classical, Biblical, and English literature, while mixing in Scottish Makar tradition was enjoyed by the masses.
Funds raised at the event will be going towards high school bursaries in the Southeast Cornerstone Division sponsored by the Aba Lodge as well as to sending local youth to Youth Leadership camps.