Oh what a Night!

Rabbie Burns walks into a bar and the Barman says “Am not serving you, you’re Bard!” (That’s poor!!)

Last Saturday, February 1st, more than 90 people came to the Xaverian Centre for the Annual Burns Supper. This was the first time we had hosted it here at our new place and it was a great success.

The tradition of Burns’ Supper go way back and it was an attempt to keep the songs, poems and writings of Scotland’s National Bard, alive, relevant and vivid.

As Xaverians in the UK, we have used this opportunity to generate funds but, more importantly, to have a little bit of a cultural night where we could bring people together and share laughter, friendship, joy and love.

The format of the evening is steeped in tradition. And we tried to adhere to it, if only loosely!

We began with the welcome, the Selkirk Grace and then proceeded to enjoy the first course of ‘Cock a Leekie’ soup with Scottish bread.

Next the Haggis was piped in by our two pipers, Justin Halpin, who never got a note wrong and Fr. Willie Hattie, who never got a note right! We all then recited “Address to the Haggis” before toasting the haggis with a wee dram of whisky – and as the knife stabbed the Haggis, so our rendition of Burns murdered his works!

Next up was the Fayre itself! Haggis, with whisky sauce, neeps, tatties, roasted stirk (square sausage) and then followed by Tipsy Laird and shortbread. The food was excellent and our thanks go to Alex and Kathy Possamai who worked tirelessly all day in its preparation. Thanks also to the servers, our volunteers who ensured the food arrived piping hot and on time to the tables, under the watchful eye of Tina McGrath, our maître d’.

The speeches then followed the usual pattern of “The Immortal Memory, the Toast tae the Lassies and The Lassies’ Reply.” And thanks to our speakers…but we will be looking for volunteers for next year!

The bar, staffed by the Belles from the Sun Hotel, ensured all present were well watered and then the “sangs and clatter” was led by two of the members of Celtic Fringe. All seemed to enjoy the evening which ended with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, after which some went home, and some didn’t!

So you may ask, “Why celebrate the life of a notorious womanizer, a constant critic of the Church, a father of 13, mainly illegitimate children, and a mason?”

Well, there is no denying the man was a genius who could see the big picture. He had a love for justice, a hatred for hypocrisy, a dream for a better world and voice for the equality and dignity of all humanity.

His poem/song “For a’ that and a’ that” should not only be Scotland’s National Anthem but the Anthem of all Nations. Universal brother/sisterhood is how we ought to live and what we ought to promote with our lives. And its final verse is indeed reason alone to raise a glass and raise our hopes.

Then let us pray that come it may, 
As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.