Hungry for haggis? Supper honors 'Auld Lang Syne' poet Robert Burns

EUGENE, Ore. - About 50 people attended a dinner and dance Saturday hosted by the Highland Spring Pipers Challenge to honor the memory of Scotland's most beloved poet Robert Burns.

"Robert Burns is the national bard of Scotland," Highland Spring Pipers Challenge member Erik Albert said.

Burns died in 1796, but people gather for Burns suppers all around the world on his birthday, Jan. 25.

During his life, Burns wrote many songs and poems, including his best known song, "Auld Lang Syne."

"Robert Burns night started with his friends getting together to read his poetry on the anniversary of his death in July, but later migrated towards his birthday," Albert said.

This was the first Burns supper hosted by the Highland Spring Pipers Challenge. The supper was held at the Eugene Masonic Center, 2777 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Festivities included live Celtic harp music, songs sung in Scot's Gaelic; bagpipe music; Highland step dancing; and reading of the bard's poetry.

Dinner was a traditional Scottish feast, including cock-a-leekie soup, turnips and potatoes - or "neeps and tatties" - as well as Scotland's most famous dish: haggis, a type of savory meat pudding.

The haggis, considered the national dish of Scotland because of Burn's poem "Address to a Haggis," had to be ordered two weeks in advance from Lamb Etc. Scottish & Irish in Roseburg.

There was also Scotch whiskey tasting and an assortment of scones, shortbread and cakes for dessert.

Nancy Johnson has been an active member in the Scottish cultural community for nearly two decades and has attended a number of Burns suppers.

"This was very well done," she said. "This is one of my favorites that I have been to."

After dinner, guests were taught a traditional Scottish country dance and gathered in a circle to sing "Auld Lang Syne."

Tickets were $30 for one or two for $50. Funds will go towards The Highland Spring Pipers Challenge & Celtic Gathering.