Robbie Burns was an influential Scottish poet and lyricist who inspired many during the Romantic period and beyond. He was born in 1759 to a farm family, and became known for the romantic folk songs that he wrote while working in the fields. Following his death, he became famous worldwide, and his legacy was celebrated annually on January 25, commonly known as “Burns Night”. This usually involves a supper that includes traditional Scottish foods like haggis, poetry readings, and of course, whisky.
A group of local volunteers is planning a fundraiser for The Portal Youth Outreach, which will kick off the New Year in style later this month. Get Yer Kilt On: A Celebration of Robbie Burns and all things Scottish! will be held January 24 at the Noodle Guy in Port Williams.
In Nova Scotia, Robbie Burns day is still celebrated by those with a connection to Scottish heritage, and those who connect to the universal themes of love and nature in Robbie’s work. His life, however, was one filled with struggle. While his first collection of poems was well-received, he didn’t achieve fame until he passed away in 1786, at the age of 37, and often struggled financially. Still, he managed to maintain a strong spirit, found in the small moments of joy experienced in everyday life. At its heart, Robbie Burns day is a celebration of bringing people together, even in challenging times – one thing which many Nova Scotians can relate to right now.
On Sunday, January 24, Ross Patterson will be opening his café, The Noodle Guy, for a celebration of Robbie Burns and all things Scottish. All proceeds will be donated directly to Portal Youth Outreach, a local non-profit in Kentville that helps find housing and related services for youth in the Annapolis Valley. Attendees can expect a delicious haggis meal and Scottish treats; there will be performances featuring local Scottish music, dance, and storytelling, and Gaelic speaker and poet Lewis MacKinnon. In addition, there will be samplings of some of the world’s finest Scotch whisky.
Full Covid-19 safety protocols will be in effect: there will be limited seating for lunch and dinner. All tickets will be sold in advance and seating will be assigned. This will enable groups of friends to be in their own bubble if they wish. Safety for all is the priority.
Presenting partner for the Burns celebration this year is The Office of Scottish Affairs for Canada. Catriona Little, Head of Scottish Affairs for Canada, attended the Burns event in Port Williams last year. Due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel she will not be able to attend in person this year but sends the following message: “The Scottish Government is very pleased to be able to support such a worthy event put together by some incredible volunteers. This celebration of one of Scotland’s national treasures, Rabbie Burns the ‘People’s Poet’, is very apt and an opportunity to demonstrate support for local communities and wonderful local businesses such as The Noodle Guy during these challenging and uncertain times. Being able to contribute to the remarkable work of The Portal Youth Outreach, an association providing essential services for the youth of the Annapolis Valley, is a real pleasure and reflective of Scotland’s values of inclusivity, kindness, and making sure nobody is left behind. This event epitomises the strong cameraderie and strength of spirit of people and I want to thank all those involved, especially the Scotland Nova Scotia Business Association, for making this event possible.”
This Year’s Robbie Burns Celebration at the Noodle Guy will be a memorable event for anyone who wants to appreciate and learn more about Scottish culture and have a wonderful time! To learn more and reserve your seat portalyouth.ca or call Marie at 902-790-2073.
Photo: Participating at last year’s Robbie Burns Fundraiser for The Portal Youth Outreach: Bill Lloy, MC and “Ode to the Haggis”; Deana Lloy, Red Label Kilts; Lewis MacKenzie, Director, Office of Gaelic Affairs for Nova Scotia; Catriona Little, Head of Scottish Affairs for Canada, Ottawa; and JD MacCulloch, event volunteer.