Scots Wha Hae, Burns celebrations abound in Victoria

Scottish bard Robbie Burns celebrated throughout the region this month

It’s time to dust off your trews, kilt and sporran and celebrate the birth of The Bard.

Though he died at age 37, Scots and others around the world will gather to celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns this month.

Burns was born Jan. 25, 1759 and earned fame as a poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as

the national poet of Scotland and is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language.

He is most famous for his poem Auld Lang Syne, and his song Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of Scotland. Burns birthday is traditionally celebrated with a dinner.

So if you enjoy a bite of warm-reekin’ rich haggis, a dram of whisky, or a heaping helping of tatties and neeps, here’s where you can get your fix.

• At 10 a.m., Jan. 21, Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Cres., opens for self-guided tours. At 11:30 a.m. Cookeilidh will begin a short musical performance and at noon the haggis will be piped in to the Castle by the Highland Gathering Light Horse and Foot Guard. Bill Johnston will give the address to the haggis, after which guests may sample the dish and bring home a copy of a Robbie Burn’s poem and the recipe.

The celebration is including in the regular admission cost of the castle – $13.75 for adults, $12.75 for seniors. Contact 250-592-5323.

• Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band Burns Dinner is on Jan. 21 at the Mary Winspear Community Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney. Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:10. Evening includes a silent auction. Tickets $50, call Ron Morgan 250-383-6182 or Jim Maxwell 250-598-0120.

• Tuck into a delicious Burns supper sponsored by the St. Andrew’s and Caledonian Society and the Queen City Chapter #5 of Eastern Star. Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. at the United Chapters Hall, 3281 Harriet Road. Cost is $25. The evening includes a meal and entertainment. For information and/or tickets call David Cook at 382-0572.

• The Sons of Scotland host a traditional Burns Dinner with entertainment to follow on Jan. 28, cocktails at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. at the Royal Oak Golf and Country Club, 540 Marsett Pl. Victoria. Dress is business or Highland. Cost is $45 per person. For information or tickets contact Bob Brown at 250-478-0746, Herb Strandberg at 250-388-0735, or Anne Beel at 250-480-9355. Tickets must be purchased in advance, tickets will be delivered.

• The Victoria Joint Scottish Council is hosting a Memorial Tea and Concert on Jan. 22. At 2 p.m., there will be a short ceremony at the Burns Statue in Beacon Hill Park, followed by a concert of Scots entertainment and a tea at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk Hall on Courtney Street (around the corner from the main church doors) at approximately 2:30 p.m. Admission is by donation. For more information call 250-652-5773.