Top tips for a brilliant Burns Night celebration

It’s just one week till we celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet – Robert Burns.

This is a perfect opportunity to introduce your girls to some Scottish traditions – in a fun and tasty way. Here are few ideas to get your girls into the Burns spirit!

Poetry

It wouldn’t be Burns celebration without a bit of poetry and what better one to start with than the Address to a Haggis. Your girls may be unfamiliar with some of the words Burns used – why not have them try and translate a few verses into words they use today and see how close they get? You can find the full original text and a translation here.

If your girls are feeling inspired why not challenge them to write their own ode to their favourite food.

Food 

Now you’ve learnt the poem who will be brave enough to try the real thing?

Why not put a fun twist on the traditional Burns Supper and try a haggis pizza. You can start from scratch with a plain pizza base, tomato sauce, cheese, your choice of vegetables and of course haggis (or veggie haggis) to top it off.

Or if you’re stretched for time there’s always a ready-made supermarket haggis pizza – we won’t tell! Feeling extra ambitious – why not try neeps, tatties and other Scottish favourite foods like black pudding or stovies?

Remember to have the girls recite their Address to the Haggis before tucking in.

Music

You can’t have a party without music so give your night a Scottish twist by making your own bagpipes. Check out these simple instructions to make your own fab-looking bagpipes. You may need to be inventive when it comes to playing them!

Once you’ve created bagpipes why not see if there are other instruments you can create. Got your band assembled? Now it’s time to play!

Games

A party wouldn’t be complete without games so continue the Scottish theme by having a go at the caber toss. Usually a caber is over 19 feet tall so it’s best you create an indoor version!

To make the caber, take a cylinder tube such as a Pringles tub and fill it up with pasta shapes or something similar to weigh it down. Place the lid on top (very important!) and seal it using duct tape. Plus seal the bottom too, just to be extra safe!

Ready to compete? Make sure everyone is clear of the starting line, then stand with both hands under the bottom of the caber and your arms straight. You might need to crouch to get a good throw. Take a few steps and launch your caber into the air – the aim is to throw so that it spins end over end.

See how far you can get your caber to go!

Dancing

Scottish country dancing is another traditional activity many of us associate with Burns Night and there are plenty of fun, high-energy dances perfect for groups. Why not Strip the Willow or try the Dashing White Sergeant in your unit?  Once the girls have mastered the steps to these – why not challenge them to come up with their own dance?

Take it further

If your unit has enjoyed learning more about Scottish culture they can continue the fun with our Scottish Country Dance Challenge pack and badge. You can view this pack online here.

Let us know what your unit gets up to this Burns Night by getting in touch at @GirlguidingScot on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook