A general welcome with announcements is followed with the Selkirk Grace. Piping leads up to the cutting of the haggis as Burns’s famous ‘Address to a Haggis’ is read. At the end of the meal, toasts and replies are made until the toast to Burns’s immortal memory. And of course, the evening ends with ‘Auld Lang Syne.’
Isn’t it amazing that 255 years on, we are still celebrating Robbie Burns’ birthday – the 25th of January.
Rather ironic because he was a Scotsman and at the time of his birth in 1759, the English and Scots were like oil and water with good reason. Some would even say that it’s not changed.
As a result of the Young Pretender’s defeat, drastic measures were put into place to assure that another uprising would be very unlikely to take place. Among the measures was the 1746 Act of Proscription. It was an Act passed by the parliament of Great Britain in an effort to assimilate the Scottish Highlands into Britain by crushing the clan system. It took effect in August 1746 and was only repealed some 36 years later.
In 2012, it was estimated that he had six hundred descendants.
So the next time you hear ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ give a thought to Robbie Burns.
I feel quite justified in trotting off to my local to toast him, because, I am a Stewart !