Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.
Those are the words of the immortal Scottish bard and poet Robbie Burns. He was known as the “ploughman poet” because of his hands-on experience with farming. Although his family was impoverished and went bankrupt, Burns acquired an education with knowledge of French, Latin, Shakespeare, Milton and Dryden.
He was a rebel who supported the French Revolution, fathered a number of illegitimate children and rebelled against Calvinism and the social mores of his time. His first works were published in 1786. He died of rheumatic fever in 1796 after publishing his last major work. He is regarded as Scotland’s national poet, and celebrations of his birth take place all over the world every year on Jan. 25 or thereabouts. This year is his 256th birthday.
Local lovers of Scottish fare, the bagpipes and a wee dram of whiskey will gather together on Saturday at the Vernon Recreation Centre for the annual Robbie Burns dinner. The Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band and the Arran Campbell Memorial Pipe Band (youth) are the hosts for the evening and will play a hand in the entertainment along with Highland Dancers from the Argyll School of Performing Arts and Motion, and Scottish Country Dancing. Roast beef and haggis, neeps and tatties along with the appropriate greens and veggies round out the dinner.
The haggis, beloved by the Scots and reviled by many others, is actually the star of the evening. After the Address to the Haggis, a dagger is plunged into the savoury pudding and the evening begins. The best part of all — you don’t need to be Scottish to enjoy the dinner!
Tickets are available at The Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, or online at www.ticketseller.ca. Tickets are $37 for adults, $20 for those under 18 years.