Scotsman remembered at annual birthday celebration
The haggis -- a symbol of the oppressed in Scotland – is always piped in at the birthday celebration of a certain Scotsman.
“Robbie Burns was a bit of a lad,” said Andrew Gallagher, who was born in Scotland and attended the event.
Burns, who used his artistic efforts to better the lives of others, was remembered at Timothy Eaton Gardens Seniors Centre.
This has happened every year on or near his birthday on January 25 for the past 10 years. In Saskatchewan, it has taken place since the early 1900’s.
There are many parts to the celebration. One of the main ones is the ode to the haggis: a meal traditionally eaten by the Scottish poor and made out of sheep.
"The chance to eat it, to share, that's why you've got the verse about: no other meal is as worthy as a haggis for a Scotsman,” said Andrew Gallagher, who gave the ode to the haggis.
Gallagher, who was born in Scotland, moved to Saskatchewan in 2011. He says honouring Burns also means putting on a show.
"He used his theatrics to have his wily ways with whoever; men and women by all accounts,” he said. “I think having it as a dry presentation, just presenting, wouldn't work."
Burns, who had 12 kids with four women, was known to honour women through a toast. While Don Mitchell, who organized the event, gave one such toast, there was also a toast to the “laddies” given by Marie Gibbs.
Gibbs has Scottish ancestry that goes four generations back. He says celebrating Burns’ life is a way to honour the man for what he did for women.
"He wrote poems and he made love songs to them because he loved women--and he saw the potential in them,” said Gibbs. “He saw the intelligence in them and he saw how much they could contribute if they were allowed to do so."
Whether it's by the younger or the older generation, Burns' music continues to be enjoyed today. And like his song, Auld Lang Syne, he will be remembered, not forgotten.