One of the best things about living abroad is connecting with other foreigners. Hey – we have something in common! We are both a little lost in a world of bises and wordy pleasantries. Yesterday was a Scottish holiday, Burns night, and the foreigners of Verdun came together to celebrate it. Robert Burns was an 18th century poet, and is now regarded as the national poet of Scotland. My handsome and very Scottish roomate prepared an entire evening for us.
Before we sat down to eat, Craig said the Selkirk Grace. Everyone was loving his accent – which is actually a dialect called Scots.
Some hae meat an’ cannae eat, Some would eat that want it, But we hae meat, an’ we can eat, Sae may the Lord be thankit’
The entrée was a delicious lentil soup with ham and vegetables. Craig worked so hard (as the only Scotsman in Verdun) in making this night special. After the entrée, it was onto the main course: haggis. But before we could dig in, Craig recited Burns’ Address to the Haggis, a satirical poem about the strong Haggis fed Scot. When we finally got to taste, I tried to forget what exactly I was eating and just enjoy! And it was actually really good. The haggis was accompanied by neeps and tatties, also known as turnips and potatoes.
After dinner, Craig read some of Burns’ poetry, my favorite being My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose. It even sounded more romantic with Craig’s accent.
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
After the poetry, we had a heavenly dessert called Cranachan. Craig whipped up some cream and added whiskey, and then made a lovely little parfait of cream, toasted oats, and raspberries. It was delicious. Just after dessert, everyone poured a glass of whiskey as Andy recited the Toast to the Lassies. This is a tradition in which the males get to complain about the women in their lives, while really sending them backhanded compliments. We were laughing so hard tears came to our eyes! I had the responsibility of the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies, where we get to whine about the Laddies in our lives (trust me, us girls have a lot to say when it comes to that!). I was nervous, but I think I succeeded in bashing the male species while adding some sweet love at the end.
My favorite part of the whole night, was when Craig said the final remarks, and we sang Auld Lang Syne. Holding hands with my best friends here, we were singing so loud I’m sure everyone in Verdun could hear us. Not only was it amazing to learn about Scotland, but also it was also a beautiful night shared between friends.
Have you ever heard of this tradition? Do you have any like it in your country?