BURNS night is a huge annual event in the calendar for those in Scotland.

The much-loved poet wrote in English and also Scottish Gaelic, which was his local dialect.

A mural of Robert Burns on the sea wall at Ardeer beach, near his birthplace

How to say Happy Burns Day in Scottish Gaelic

Robert Burns, who did not actually speak Gaelic, was known for his willingness to write in both English and his local dialect.

Many celebrating Burns Night look to embrace the Scottish Gaelic.

People traditionally greet each other with the phrase “Sláinte Mhath!” which translates to “Good Health!” – it’s pronounced “slanj’-uh va’”.

If you want to directly translate the words “Happy Burns Night” you could try “Oidhche Bhlas Burns”.

Despite this not being a traditional greeting, many Scots will appreciate the effort being made.

What are the traditional Scottish Gaelic greetings?

To make your Burns Night more traditional, you could try some of these well-known local phrases:

  • Fàilte! – Welcome! – pronounced “fal’-tchuh”
  • Mìle fàilte! – A thousand welcomes! – pronounced “mee’-luh fal’-tchuh”
  • Alba gu brath! – Scotland forever! – pronounced “al’-a-pa ga bra”
  • Mòran taing! – Many thanks! – pronounced “maw’-run tah’-eeng”
  • Meal a naidheachd! – Congratulations! – pronounced “m-yallan-eh-oechk”


How do Scots celebrate Robert Burns Day?

Burns Night celebrations vary around the UK but usually begins with bagpipes greeting guests and a host making a welcome speech.

To start the celebrations firstly as everyone gathers, the host says a few words, everyone sits and the Selkirk Grace is said.

Scots will usually indulge in soup, usually a Scotch broth, cock-a-leekie or cullen skink, followed by the country’s favourite – haggis.

Haggis is a Scottish pudding comprised of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep diced with onions, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, which has been cooked in a sheep’s stomach.

A Burns poem is usually read out, with firm favourite, Address To A Haggis, as their first choice.

The poem begins with the line: “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!” to celebrate their beloved food.

The meal and recital are followed by a whisky toast, with an evening dedicated to a mix of Scottish poetry and dancing to bagpipes.

Who was Robert Burns and when did he die?

Also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire or the Ploughman Poet, Robert is the world’s best known Scottish poet – and was an outspoken political commentator.


Burns was born in Alloway in Ayrshire in 1759.

He wrote in English and was known as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, as well as an inspiration for the founders of liberalism and socialism.

A symbol of national pride, he was voted as the greatest Scot ever by members of the public in 2009, in a national poll run by Scotland‘s STV.

The exact reason for his untimely death is still widely debated, but the Scottish poet died at the young age of 37-years-old in 1796.

 

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