2021 Burns Suppers
Burns Night 2021 is set to become an unwonted event in the history of the international Burns movement. As moments of intense conviviality, whereby hosts and guests share food, drinks, and poems before holding hands for ‘auld lang syne’, Burns Suppers fit awkwardly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when social distancing and limited hospitality must prevail in most countries. This situation has led to the cancellation of thousands of Burns Suppers in Scotland and overseas —a state of affairs unmatched since the Second World War.
Yet unlike 80 years ago, today’s technology allows for alternative approaches to Burns Night. Whilst video calls and live streams cannot replace the joys of a shared dinner, they enable toasts to be toasted, poems to be recited, and songs to be sung. This is why many Burnsians, from international Scottish societies to Burns clubs, restaurants, and charity associations, have decided to hold online suppers in 2021. For the first time since its inception, it seems that Burns Night is going virtual.
Aware that history is unfolding before our eyes, we, at the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, would like to leave a record of this unprecedented celebration. The following list inventories dozens of events taking place this year to mark Burns’s anniversary. Most of these are hosted online, although some exceptions should be noted in areas with softer pandemic restrictions. More information about each event can be found by clicking on the embedded link.
The purpose of this page is to promote listed events to a wider, international audience whilst also serving as a resource for future research.
- The Caledonian Casteways's Burns Supper (Newport, Victoria, 25 January 2021). Traditional Supper with live music.
- The Fox Hole Restaurant (Sydney, 23 January 2021). Three-course supper and ‘Address to a Haggis’.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
- Caledonian Society of Bosnia & Herzegovina, (Zoom, 25 January 2021), “A Virtual Burns Supper & Reunion of the Ghosts of Suppers Past”. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, "Burns Night & Ceilidh" (Hyatt Regency Hotel, Phnom Penh, 30 January, 7pm).
- Nanaimo, Tidemark Theatre's "The Bard and His Ballads Virtual Live Show" (Online, 22 January 2021).
- Great Victoria Police Pipe Band (Online, 25 January 2021). Pre-recorded Burns Supper.
- Glenaladale Virtual Robbie Burns Night (Zoom, 7pm Atlantic Time). Virtual Supper with toast and music.
- NES Fircroft, Calgary (Streamed, 25 January 2021); Virtual production in support of Alberta Children’s Hospital; hosted by Dominik Diamond.
- Scottish Society of Ottawa (Online, 23 January 2021). Virtual Burns Gala Supper.
- Sons of Scotland Pipe Band (Online, 25 January 2021). Commemorative video.
- Jasmine Cayman’s 2021 Burns Supper (Grand Old House, 29 January 2021). Traditional Supper with three-course dinner and ceilidh dancing.
- Boisdale's Virtual Burns Night (Online, 25 January 2021) Traditional Supper with toasts and poems, featuring Scottish actor James Cosmo. Includes Burns Supper food delivery (order by Sunday 17 January).
- The Guild of Human Resources Professionals, “Virtual Burns Supper” (Zoom, 22 January 2021).
- Harrow & District Caledonian Society (Zoom, 30 January 2021).
- Quatt Village Hall (Delivery, 25 January 2021): delivery haggis supper box including burns napkins, poems, raffle tickets, red rose.
- St Andrews Society of York (Zoom, 23 January 2021).
- “Burns Digital” by Classic Malt Whisky Association (Zoom, 30 January 2021). Online tasting and Burns Supper.
ISLE OF MAN
- Big Burns Supper of Hospice Isle of Man (Comis Hotel, Douglas, 23 January 2021). Traditional supper with three-course meal, toasts, and live music.
- British Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, Virtual Burns Night (Online, 21 January 2021) with Burns Quiz and live music.
- British Association of Monaco (Fairmont Monte Carlo, 25 January 2021). Black tie supper with traditional entertainment and three-course meal.
- Otago Settlers Museum & Dunedin Burns Club, Burns Night Dinner (Dunedin, 25 January 2021, 7pm) on the theme 'Burns & Ireland' with Irish Ambassador Peter Ryan, and Eamon Cleary Professor of Irish Studies Sonja Tiernan from the University of Otago.
- Schomberg Society, Virtual Burns Supper, (YouTube, 23 January 2021, 7.30pm). Ulster Scots event.
- Ulster Scots University of Coleraine, 'The Ulster Scots Burns Night Tradition' (Online, 25 January 2021). A lecture by Dr Frank Ferguson.
- Moscow Caledonian Club, Virtual Burns Night (20-30 January 2021). Members & friends should send photos of their Burns Supper for publication on the club's website and social media.
- Airdrie & Monklands Rotary Club, Virtual Burns Supper (Online, 23 January 2021). Virtual Supper with live music. All proceeds to charity. Contact: RotaryCam@gmail.com
- Bachelors of Tarbowton's Anniversary Burns Supper (YouTube, 15 January 2021). Virtual Supper with toasts and poems.
- Balerno Burns Club (Online, 23 January 2021) with live or pre-recorded toasts and poems by club members.
- Beatson Cancer Charity, ‘The Bard and his Belles Virtual Burns Supper’ (YouTube, 22 January 2021, 7pm). Guest speakers include Karen Dunbar, Hazel Irvine and Eric Davidson; music by ‘Red Hot Chili Pipers’.
- Believe in Scotland's Virtual Burns Supper (Online, 23 January 2021 7pm). Pro-independence Burns Supper with traditional toasts and poems, featuring Mike Russell MSP, Philippa Whitford MP, Kate Forbes MSP, Alistair Heather, Billy Kay, Lesley Riddoch & Bill Nolan.
- “Big Burns Night In” by Edinburgh Green Party (Zoom, 25 January 2021). Virtual supper with prize draw and traditional Scottish music.
- “Big Burns Supper” (YouTube, 25 January 2021). Streamed Burns Supper with shows by K.T. Tunstall, Janey Godley, Manran, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and Immortal Memory Toast by Prof. Gerard Carruthers (University of Glasgow).
- Bowhill People’s Burns Club (Zoom, 23 January 2021). Online Burns Supper with toasts and poems.
- British Association for Romantic Studies (Online, 26 January 2020, 5pm). Speakers: Andrew McInnes (Edge Hill University); Gerard Carruthers (Glasgow University); Darroch Bratt (University of the Highlands and Islands); Ainsley McIntosh (Editor of the Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott’s Poetry); James Kelly (University of Exeter); Zayneb Allak (Edge Hill University). Tickets available here.
- Chinese Burns Supper 2021 by China-Britain Business Council (Online, 4 February 2021, 3.30-5pm). Virtual Burns supper and China-Scotland Business Awards.
- Dundee Press Agency, Virtual Burns Supper (Zoom, 25 January 2021, 7pm). Virtual Burns Supper with toasts and poetry.
- Earlston High School (Earlston, 28 January 2021). Traditional school supper.
- Edinburgh Castle, "Virtual Burns Night" (Facebook & YouTube, 25 January 2021, 5pm). Virtual Supper with poems & toasts.
- Edinburgh Contini's 'Burns Supper at Home' (Delivery, 21, 22, 26 January). Burns at Home menu for delivery across the UK.
- Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, "The Virtual Burns Supper" (Zoom, 25 January 2021) with traditional toasts, live music, and film screening.
- Glasgow Haggis Club, “Virtual Ladies Night” (Online, 16 January 2021, 7pm) with traditional toasts and music.
- Greenock Burns Club (Online, 25 January 2021). Virtual Burns Supper with Immortal Memory speech by Prof. Gerard Carruthers (University of Glasgow).
- Govan Weavers Burns Supper (5 March 2021, tbc). Traditional Burns Supper.
- Helensburgh Burns Club, 'Virtual Burns Supper (Zoom, 15 January 2021).
- Irvine Lasses Burns Club, Virtual Burns Supper (Zoom, 25 January 2021) with toasts, poems, songs, and online raffle.
- Irvine Burns Club, 'Address to a Haggis' (YouTube Commemorative Video, 22 January 2021).
- Inverness Chamber of Commerce, "21st Century Burns Night" (Online, 29 January 2021). Virtual supper supported by Poppy Scotland.
- Larkhall Burns Club, "Virtual Burns Supper (Online, 12 February 2021).
- Marie Curie Scotland's 'Haggis at Home' (18-25 January 2021). Burns supper package available upon donation.
- Oor Vyce Burns Nicht (Facebook & YouTube, 25 January, 8pm). Scots Language Burns Supper with toasts and music, featuring Iona Fyfe, Margaret Bennett, Len Pennie, Jack Capener, and Billy Kay.
- Penicuik Community Arts Association (Zoom, 23 January 2021, 7pm). Immortal Memory by Ian Young followed by Address to a Haggis.
- Prestonfield Charity Burns Supper (Virtual, tbc).
- Robert Burns World Federation, Virtual Burns Supper (Online, 23 January 2021) with traditional entertainment.
- Rotary Club of Burntisland and Kinghorn, ‘Auld Lang Zoom’ (Zoom, 22 January 2021) with toasts, music, and poetry.
- Rotary Club of Crieff (date tbc).
- Royal Yacht Britannia (Edinburgh, 23 January 2021). Physical supper.
- Sandyford Burns Club (Online, 30 January 2021). Immortal Memory by Dr Paul Malgrati (University of Glasgow).
- SBH Scotland’s ‘World Biggest Burns’ (YouTube & Facebook, 25 January 7pm), virtual Burns Supper featuring aney Godley , Bruce Fummey and Fred Macauley, and Chris Tait. With this event, SBH aims to obtain the World Record for the biggest Burns Supper by reaching 1,500 attendees. Attendance is free.
- Scotland in Union, Virtual Burns Night (Online, 25 January 2021, 7pm). Unionist Burns Supper featuring Liberal Democrats’ Wendy Chamberlain MP, Labour’s Daniel Johnson MSP, and Lord (Ian) Duncan from the Conservatives.
- Scotland Is Now (Scottish Government), Global Burns Toast (Social Media, 22-25 January 2021). The Scottish Government is inviting social media users to share a toast to Robert Burns on social media by using the hashtag #BurnsNightIn. Toasts can be in any format people desire to post them – video, photographs, images, lines of poetry, audio recordings.
- Scotsman, 'Scran - Special Burns Night' (Live Podcast; 7pm) with Alison Campsie, Sam Heughan, and Gary MacLean.
- Society of Advocates in Aberdeen (Online, 21 January 2021). Virtual Burns Supper.
- Stirling Castle, “A Virtual Burns Night” (Facebook and YouTube, 25 January 2021).
- University of Glasgow, "Virtual Burns Night" (Social Media, 25 January 2021). The University of Glasgow is inviting Burnsians and alumni from all over the world to share a picture of their Burns Night by using the hahstag #VirtualBurnsNight.
- University of St Andrews, Online Alumni Burns Night (Online, 25 Janaury 2021). Pre-recorded Burns Supper programme featuring contributions by the University's alumni.
- Rhumbelow Theatre, “The Fate of Burns” (Kloof, 31 January 2021, 2pm), a celebration of Robert Burns with Miriam Erasmus and Frank Graham.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- Caledonian Society of Hawaii, “Online with the Bard’ (Zoom, 23 January 2021). Luncheon with traditional Burns Supper program. Register here.
- Caledonian Society of San Francisco, “Virtual Burns Supper” (Online, 22 January 2021).
- Detroit Burns Club (Zoom or small gathering, date tbc).
- San Francisco Knight of St Andrews (Scottish Rite Masonic Centre, 29 January 2021). Traditional supper with toasts and bagpipe.
- Saint Andrews Society of San Francisco, “Virtual Burns Supper” (Online, 30 January 2021, 5pm-8pm (PDT)) with poetry, food, whisky, dance, and song.
- Scottish American Society of the Quad Cities (Moline, Illinois, 24 April 2021, tbc) Robert Burns Supper and Gala.
- Scottish Heritage Association of Northeast Ohio (Online, 18-23 January 2021). Series of virtual events, including cèilidh dancing, bagpipe, harp and fiddle performances, Highland dancing, and a concert by Susie and Jim Malcolm from the Scottish folk band, ‘Old Blind Dogs’.
- Scottish Heritage Society of Iowa (Zoom, date tbc).
- Scottish Society of Middle Tennessee (23 January 2021, tbc).
- St Andrews’s Society of Mid-Maryland, ‘Throwback Burns Supper’ (Online, 27 February 2021).
- Andrew's Society of Pittsburgh (Online, tbc).
- Utah Scottish Association (Online, 24 January 2021). Traditional supper performed online by members.