Saturday night’s celebration of Robert Burns’ birthday was complete with bagpipe music, traditional Scottish food, drink, poems and ballads and plenty of opportunities for toasting. The men and women of The Order of the Tartan came dressed in their finest Scottish garb to take part in this annual event.
Convener Michael Scott, dressed in his family’s tartan, welcomed members and their guests as they as they entered the Taste of Lemon for the evening’s festivities. He explained that he would be leading the procession around the room to present the haggis, a much beloved Scottish delicacy, to officially open the birthday supper.
“The idea, unfortunately, is that the piper was kind of a lush, he wasn’t a very savory character. You had to pay the piper (for his services) with a wee dram of scotch and a shilling,” Scott said.
Scott, playing his bagpipes, lead the procession, which included the haggis, around the room to begin the evening. Following Scott was the Sword Bearer, Alexander Wilson, Poussie Nancy (the traditional bearer of the Haggis), Ann Spurlin and the Whiskey Bearer, Brian Wilson.
Haggis, traditionally a Scottish dish that was made from sheep pluck, which is the heart, liver and lungs of the sheep, together with oatmeal and spices cooked in the stomach of the sheep, is slightly modified for consumption here in the states. BBC reporter and guest speaker for the evening, Jon Kelly, explained the difference.
“The FDA has determined that sheep lungs are not edible so the haggis in America must be made without them,” Kelly said. “A synthetic casing is also substituted for the casing of the haggis.”
After the piper was paid and the haggis was addressed and formerly opened by Brian Wilson, the dish was divided onto separate plates and offered to each of the tables to be shared by all; the haggis was eaten spread on crackers. The rest of the meal was also fashioned after traditional Scottish fare.
Bottles of champagne were distributed to each of the tables and amidst cork popping and tipsy lairds trifle (dessert) toasts were offered to the president, the queen of Scotland, and to the lassies and the laddies. Spirits were high and then the evening’s guest speaker, BBC reporter, who is currently on assignment in Washington D.C., Jon Kelly, offered the evening’s toast to “The Immortal Memory” of the bard of Scotland, Robert Burns.
The evening was concluded with poems and ballads that featured songs from Michael Scott, James Short and Judith Rothschild.
The Order of the Tartan is an organization that was originally formed in 1982. The members represent different clans of Scotland and now reside in Columbus, Newnan, LaGrange and surrounding areas. They hold gatherings throughout the year with their two main events being the celebrations for Robert Burns and Saint Andrews, the patriot saint of Scotland.
Contact Ann Spurlin at 706.885.1767 for member or general information for this organization.