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There is perhaps no celebration as curiously and uniquely Scottish as Burns Night. The origins of this ritualistic supper date back to 1801 when friends of the iconic poet Robert Burns gathered to read his works, drink whisky in his memory and dine on haggis to take pride in their national heritage.

Burns Night gatherings are still going strong over 200 years later, and while there is somewhat of a formal order of activities to follow, the key to a successful evening is a reverential attitude toward the Scottish homeland and a genial sense of merriment. Whether you’re attending a supper held by a formal Burns Club or hosting one yourself, here’s what you can expect.


There is no greater homage to the night and to Robert Burns himself than donning a kilt to the festivities. True Scots and those who are Scots-adjacent can find a tartan worthy of this amazing event in the Sport Kilt catalog.


Following a brief warm-up act of a Burns song or poem, the keynote speaker rises to pay tribute to the eternal guest of honor himself. This speaker is free to touch on any aspect of Burns’ life he so chooses, so long as it’s entertaining. Every speech ends in a toast: “To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns!”


A keynote speaker regales the gathered guests with a Burns tale, then raises a glass to His Immortal Memory. Celebrations continue into the evening, including toasts to the women and men in the room, delivered by each’s opposite sex.