Ah Robbie; love that haggis!

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Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the 225th birthday of one of Scotland’s most famous sons – Robbie Burns, the poet whose statue sits in regal splendour in Dunedin’s Octagon.

The bard’s birthday is marked among Scottish communities around the world each year with a traditional Burns evening.

In Oamaru, it will be a Burns afternoon this Sunday but it will still have all the traditional fare of a Burns evening – bagpipes, tartan and kilts everywhere, Scottish dancing, recitations from the works of the great Burns and haggis eating.

“It’s the biggest day in the Scottish calendar,” said Janis Hayes, chief of the North Otago Scottish Society.

Members of the Timaru and Scottish societies will be attending as well as many locals.

“Our locals do support us but we’d like a lot more,” Mrs Hayes said.

The all important haggis for Sunday’s event is coming from Leckie’s Butchery in South Dunedin which is renowned for haggis making.

“We’ve made it for a very long time,” Leckie’s butcher Grant Miller said.

“We’ve made 50 this week and sent them all around the country. Restaurants and accommodation here take it for the tourist trade and it ticks away all the time.”

Sunday’s programme begins in Oamaru’s Scottish Hall at 2pm with the North Otago Highland Pipe Band performing followed by Scottish dancing, and a range of entertainment which includes 40 Flying Fingers (four women playing two pianos).

Bruce Plant will make the address to Robbie Burns. The haggis will then be piped around the hall where it will be addressed by ex-North Otago society chief, Ian Grant.

Then it will be afternoon tea, sandwiches….and haggis eating.

Waimate is holding its Caledonian Games tomorrow (Saturday) and the Waimate Scottish Society will have its 50th Burns Night in the Waimate High School hall starting at 8pm.

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia says haggis, a savoury pudding, contains sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and Lungs) minced with onions, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt mixed with stock.

It is traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for around three hours. In recent times it has often been prepared in sausage casing.

By CHRIS TOBIN