“haggis, bashit neeps and champit tatties”
We have been in Brussels for only five full days – and boy have they been full – but we have had many new experiences. Probably the most interetsing of all was the Robert Burns Memorial Supper we attended on Saturday evening. As part of our training here, we have been assigned to work with several different churches in the Brussels metro area. We were assigned to a Church of Scotland in the Louise area of south Brussels. The pastor asked us to help prepare the vegetables and serve the meal. The supper is a fundraising event for the church – one of their largest in the whole year. The funds this year will be sent to Haiti for earthquake relief.
So, we spent an enjoyable evening with the members of the congregation peeling and chopping potatoes and turnips; these are transmogrified into “bashit neeps and champit tatties” before the supper starts. The following evening, we served tables and were allowed to partake in the supper. The opening prayer, called the Selkirk grace was:
Some ha’e meat and cannot eat,
Some can eat that want it;
But we ha’e meat an’ we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit!
The “main event”, as well as the main course, was the haggis. When the cook declares that the haggis is ready, a bagpiper plays and leads a procession around the room. A Scot recites Robert Burns “Ode to a Haggis” and stabs the haggis with a sharp knife. Then the haggis is toasted with “a drap o’ the Cratur”. Speeches are given that memorialize Mr. Burns and his poetry; the lassies are toasted, the laddies are toasted, and several of Burn’s songs are sung. A rousing version of “Auld Lang Syne” caps off the event.
The piper, leading the haggis parade
The Address to the Haggis