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Burns night supper brings Scottish traditions to Niwot


January 22, 2020 | View PDF

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Celebrate Scottish cheer (and Scotch) at Burns night supper at Niwot Tavern on Jan. 25.

Even if you're not sure who Robert Burns is, you've almost certainly heard one of his most famous poems.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,

for auld lang syne,

we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

The famous Scottish poet wrote Auld lang syne in 1788 based on "an old man's singing" and set it to a traditional Scottish song, creating what is now a classic and standard tune for New Year's celebrations, graduation ceremonies, and other milestone events here in the United States.

If you've always wondered what exactly "auld lang syne" means, it literally translates to "old long since" and it is meant to conjure times gone by.

So it is no surprise that the person who wrote that famous, celebratory, and nostalgic tune is now celebrated himself, in a nostalgic manner, on his birthday every year, Jan. 25. Burns, born in the 18th century, would be 261 years old in 2020.

Robert Burns supper "is a popular night in Scotland" according to Niwot Tavern's new owner Stacy Szydlek, and last year, it became a popular night in Niwot, as well. Their first Burns Supper event in 2019 "ended up being one of the busiest nights of the year at Niwot Tavern" said Szydlek.

Szydlek said, "We have a big English community here, and they were actually the ones who said, 'Oh you should do this.'"

The event was the brainchild of Niwot local Catherine McHale. She and the owners of the Tavern "were looking for new ideas that were community-driven and a way to bring people together" during the post-holiday cold winter season in January. "Coming from the UK," said McHale, "I was pretty aware of Robert Burns night, which I think is just a really nice kind of cozy celebration, based on the poet."

McHale said last year, "there was a bagpiper, there definitely were a few people in kilts." The Tavern served up haggis with the traditional side dish, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), and of course, plenty of Scotch.

In fact, Szydlek said, "We sold out of all of our Scotch."

This year, the Tavern found a recipe for homemade haggis layered with traditional sides and topped with whiskey gravy. Bubba Love from Lefthand Brewery will be providing poetry and entertainment. There will be plenty of Scotch to go around.

"We're all familiar with St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but this is a little different, but still really wonderful," according to McHale. "What I like about it is that it is so connected to the arts. Where do you find a day where people are celebrating poetry around here? It's kind of unusual, kind of old fashioned, but I love it."

Those interested in attending the supper at Niwot Tavern on Saturday, Jan. 25, starting at 5 p.m., are encouraged to make reservations or come early.

McHale said it is bound to be "a nice, warm, friendly evening, in a pretty cold time of year." It is expected to be a rousing good time, as well.


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