As January 25th approaches our thoughts turn to all things Scottish as we prepare to celebrate the birthday of Robbie Burns, perhaps one of the most famous poets born and bred in Scotland. Although Robbie died at the tender age of 37, he left a legacy of poetry unmatched, and has become one of Scotland’s most beloved characters.
Today, there are people of Scottish descent scattered all over the world, and though they may be far from the land of their ancestors, they still share the traits passed down from those who came before. Do you have any Scottish blood flowing through your veins?
Here are the top 20 ways to tell if you are Scottish:
You might be Scottish if……
1. You could swear before you could count.
2. You’ll wait at a store counter for a nickel of change.
3. You still enjoy watching ‘Braveheart’ even though it’s more Hollywood than historical.
4. You prefer to measure things in feet, pounds, and gallons.
5. Your eyes are a lovely shade of blue or green or a light hazel-brown
6. Even though you know what haggis is made with…you still eat it.
7. Your eyes tear up at the sound of bagpipes playing ‘Amazing Grace’.
8. Your speech becomes more colourful after a wee nip or two
9. If someone insults those dear to you, they’ve may have a fight on their hands
10. You’ve got lovely skin, and pleasant facial features
11. You’re a hard worker, and always make sure that every job is done well
12. You’ve likely remained loyal to the same sports team for years, even if they always lose
13. You’re strong willed, with a steely determination.
14. You have a stubborn streak and have been known to hold a grudge
15. You would dive into the street to retrieve a penny during a parade and risk death and injury.
16. You re-use your plastic bags and keep them in a drawer.
17. You’ve got a wonderful sense of humour and enjoy a joke or two
18. You stop talking and listen when bagpipes are playing.
19. You are fiercely loyal to family and friends and extremely proud of your heritage
20. Above all, you possess a strong sense of honour, and always keep your word.
Can you name these famous Scots?
(answers at the bottom of the page)
Do you know who wrote the Scottish song ‘Auld Lang Syne’?
‘Auld Lang Syne’, was written by the iconic Scottish poet Robbie Burns, and on January 25th each year Scots all over the world celebrate the day he was born in 1759. Many Scottish folk attend what is known as ‘Burns Night’ where they will feast on a traditional meal of the infamous ‘haggis’.
In honour of Robbie Burns here is a traditional Scottish recipe for Haggis:
1 set of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver (cleaned by a butcher)
One beef bung (intestine)
3 c finely chopped suet
1 c medium ground oatmeal
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 c beef stock
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mace
Trim off fat and sinew from the sheep’s intestine and, discard the windpipe.
Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to a boil
Reduce heat, simmer for 1 hour until tender and cool
Chop the meat into fine pieces and combine in a large bowl with the suet, oatmeal, finely onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace
Stuff the meat and spices mixture into the beef ‘bung’ which should be over half full, then press out the air and tie the open ends tightly with string
Leave room to expand or it may burst while cooking
Place in a pot and cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 3 hours.
Serve hot with “champit tatties and bashit neeps” (mashed/creamed potato and turnip).
For added flavour, you can add some nutmeg to the potatoes and allspice to the turnip. Some people like to pour a little whisky over their haggis – Drambuie may be used as well.
Whether you are planning to attend a ‘Burns Night’ celebration this January 25th, or just having a small gathering at your home, don’t forget to recite the traditional Selkirk Grace before enjoying your haggis along with a wee dram of your favourite Scotch! Happy Robbie Burns Day! Och Aye!
“Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.”
Answers – Scottish Celebrities : 1. Annie Lennox, 2. Sean Connery, 3. Isla Fisher, 4. Ewan McGregor, 5. Sheena Easton, 6. Gerard Butler
Did you know that many of the pioneer settlers in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada came from Scotland? For more information on researching your Scottish ancestors who settled in Eastern Ontario:
(This post is dedicated to the memory of James ‘Jim’ Gebbie, my husband Kevin’s uncle, who passed away in 2013 in his native Scotland. Jim was a kind soul, and a fine gentleman, and I had the privilege of spending some time with him on his visit to Canada in the summer of 2011. He shared many of his stories with us, of life as a boy growing up in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland. We hope that wherever Jim is now, they will be serving up his wee glass of scotch that he enjoyed so much before dinner each evening. Rest in peace Jim.)