Another year and another low-key Burns Night is upon us. Some of us may be venturing out to more sociable gatherings than in January 2021, but if not, as we reminded ourselves then, a Burns Night celebration at home is entirely fitting.
The first Burns Night in 1801 was a homely affair, an intimate gathering of friends at Burns Cottage, the poet’s first home which was built by his father.
Since then and before anyone had ever heard of “lockdown” some of the best Burns Suppers have been held around kitchen tables up and down the land; friends learning verses, children doing their little turns, the good whisky being raided and a pile of washing up to face the following morning.
Strictly speaking from a historical and geographical point of view, Burns, tartan and ceilidhs don’t really all belong together, but over the years we have seen them all thrown into the mix in one catch-all celebration of Scottishness.
There is something joyous about adding a tartan ribbon to a jacket or pulling out a checked dress from the wardrobe for Burns Night – it just feels like the right thing to do.
Many of the fabrics featured here aren’t technically tartan, just an approximation of it. Some are stylised prints or simply a sort of checked cloth that looks vaguely ‘Scottish’, and that’s alright – goodness knows we’ve had enough rules to follow as it is.
And if you don’t have anything special planned for this Burns Night, take heart – just remember what Burns himself said about plans.