How to celebrate Burns Night: Menu Ideas, Posters & Social Posts.
Every year on the 25th of January, Scotland celebrates Burns Night to honour the birthday of late Scottish poet Robert Burns. The event highlights the best of Scottish culture – from food and drink to reciting Burns’ poems.
Thanks to the poet’s contributions to literature, Burns Night is celebrated across the world. If you’re throwing your own Burns Night celebrations, you might want to create a menu, put up some posters and more.
Explore a range of free Burns Night templates from Adobe Express to help you get started and see where your creativity takes you.
What is Burns Night?
Burns Night is the annual celebration of Scottish traditions and national poet Robert “Rabbie” Burns. It began in 1801, five years after his passing, where friends gathered to honour his poetry at Burns Cottage. This also marked the first official Burns Supper, which consisted of haggis, sheep’s head, some reciting of poetry and a dram of whisky.
Robert Burns was an 18th century poet who wrote over 550 poems and songs. Burns often wrote in the Scots language to make poetry more accessible to the everyday people. His pieces soon became essential songs or poems for Scottish celebrations. Today, Burns Night traditions start with the poem “Address to a Haggis” and end with “Auld Lang Syne”.
His sincere lyricism, far-reaching influence and championing of the Scots language earned Burns the title of Scotland’s national bard. While Burns Night isn’t a bank holiday, the Scottish Parliament recognise the event as one of the most significant cultural traditions of the century.
Burns Night traditions.
Burns Night is stacked with wonderfully unique traditions. It’s a chance to host a spectacular supper, explore authentic Scottish food, drink some rich Scotch and enjoy beautiful poetry.
Whether you’re a fellow Scot or wish to honour this event for your business, there are a few key traditions you can try for the ultimate Burns Night celebration.
Host your own Burns Supper.
A Burns Supper menu will work perfectly in a restaurant or café. This tradition usually involves a three-course meal with haggis as the main course. You can even play a rendition of Burns’ “Address to a Haggis” while guests indulge.
Embrace your inner poet with a poetry competition.
A poetry slam featuring Burns’ famous pieces could be a great event to hold in a book shop or bar. There are plenty of poems to choose from, with notable works including “Auld Lang Syne”, “A Man’s A Man for A’ That” and “To a Mouse”. You could even challenge your regulars to write and perform their own Burnsian-inspired poems.
Host a comedy night.
Fill your bar or venue with a dedicated performance space for a good old comedy night. Much of Robert Burns’ poems were humorous in nature, so what better way to honour the poet than with a night of humour and fun?
Have a dance party with bagpipe music.
Burns Night traditions always end with singing and dancing, known as a ceilidh. This traditional dance will often feature more poems and songs by Burns. Get the bagpipes out and get guests dancing with “Auld Lang Syne” and others.
Burns Night menu ideas and inspiration.
Hosting your own Burns Night Supper? Whether you’re having a few friends and family round, or planning an official event for your small business, we have the perfect Burns Night menu ideas to inspire your evening.
Begin your Highland celebrations with cock-a-leekie soup. This classic Scottish chicken and leek soup features prunes that add a sweet contrast to the rich, savoury broth. It can easily be made meat-free too, with tofu replacing the chicken.
Alternatively, a signature ‘sort-of Scotch’ broth with stewed lamb, cabbage and pearl barley can get the Burns Night celebrations started.
The main show.
No Burns Night menu is complete without haggis, neeps and tatties. This traditional Scottish meal of haggis (or vegan haggis for non-meat eaters), creamy potatoes and swede is a staple for Burns Night. Burns himself authored a poem to celebrate his love of haggis, so the two eternally go hand-in-hand.
You might want to carry out the custom of playing the bagpipes while the haggis is brought in. Then address it with Burns' elaborate ode, “Address to a Haggis”, for good measure.
Something sweet for dessert.
Round off your Burns Supper menu with creamy cranachan. This delightful concoction combines layers of raspberries and toasted oats, topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of honey and whisky. Or you could enjoy a clootie dumpling – a traditional steamed pudding made from dried fruit and spices.
A traditional tipple to end the night.
Wash your meal down with a glass of Scotch. This smooth spirit is another classic in Burns Night traditions, usually presented during the recital of “Address to a Haggis”.
If you prefer an alcohol-free beverage, go for a Gin and Tonic mocktail instead. The botanical flavours pair well with haggis.
Ready to build your own menu? Check out our Burns Night menu templates and ideas below.
Make your own Burns Night posters for the big night.
Whatever you’re planning for Burns Night, you’ll first want to advertise the event with a Burns Night Poster. Creating a poster can leave a lasting impression on customers and help you reach your desired audience more efficiently. It also creates a sense of community – an important aspect for Burns Night traditions.
The good news is there are several options for designing your Burns Night poster. Colour, font and imagery play a massive role in making your flyer more authentic.
- Colour & Pattern: The Scottish tartan is a key pattern to use if you’re going for a dynamic background. This can be accompanied with the traditional Scottish colours of blue, black, green and red.
- Font: BC Unciala captures the Celtic style that is reminiscent of a hanging pub sign in the Highlands. A font like JohnDoe or Typeka offers a typewriter-esque quality that resonates with fellow poets and writers. Whether you’re sending a Burns Night invitation or poster, these creative fonts can grab anyone’s attention.
- Imagery: A poster featuring the famous Robert Burns portrait can be just as effective. Use Burns himself as the background with text overlay or make him central to the design for more impactful visuals.
Unsure where to begin? The following poster templates can offer a good starting point for creating the perfect Burns Night poster.
Spread the word with Burns Night social media posts.
Once your poster is complete, you can create Burns Night social media posts to spread the word in the run up to the big night. Here are some of the ways social media can get the word out in a creative and engaging way.
Share the event with your followers on Facebook.
Facebook is an effective marketing tool that helps to build an audience and community. Create a Facebook post, select a template, customise with high-quality graphics, and share. You can incorporate your Burns Night poster and plan to publish your post days, weeks and months in advance.
Make a reel of the upcoming Burns Night menu.
Instagram reels are fast-paced and eye-catching with a variety of exciting media to engage your audience. Why not create a reel of your Burns Night menu for Instagram? Edit clips of your event space or delicious food options, split scenes, add animation and watch your reel come to life.
Reach a wider audience with Facebook ads.
Want to get as many eyes on your Burns Night event as possible? Create a Facebook ad and choose from a range of editable templates. From here, you can design your own advertisements that can convert to leads. Simply upload your photo and logo to the template, then emphasise your main message before sharing.
Make TikToks for fun Burns Night invitations.
TikTok is a unique marketing channel that can maximise viral potential for your Burns Night invitations. Create a TikTok advertising your event and make it entertaining with graphics, animated icons, music and transitions. The more entertaining it is, the more views it might get, and the more interactions you’ll receive.
Useful things to know.
What do Scottish people say on Burns Night?
While there is no formal greeting for Burns Night, people generally say “Sláinte Mhath” to one another. This is pronounced “slanj’-uh va” and translates as “Good Health!”. You can also say “Oidhche Bhlas Burns”, which means “Happy Burns Night”. These could be fun messages to include in your designs.
What do you wear to a Burns Night party?
During Burns Night celebrations, people typically wear traditional Scottish dress in the form of kilts or tartan. The sporran is another traditional feature. This pouch acts as a pocket for the kilt and is seen as formal attire. You might want to specify this dress code on your posters and social posts leading up to the event.
What is the traditional drink on Burns Night?
Scotch whisky is the official drink on the Burns Supper menu. This woody spirit is a vital part of Scottish culture and is said to pair well with haggis. It’s usually served in a small glass, otherwise known as a ‘dram’ of whisky. So, don’t forget to add it as an option to your menu!