Fiddling and dancing for Robbie Burns Day
More than 120 came out to the Eganville Legion on Sunday to celebrate Robbie Burns Day with an afternoon of singing, highland dancing, fiddling and Scottish music. Pictured here (from left) are Ralph Selle, Kent Smith, Guy Jamieson, Leo Reddy and Rob Jamieson.
EGANVILLE – Eganville’s Scottish community has been celebrating the life of famed poet Robert Burns with a time-honoured tradition for more than 20 years.
All around the world, people sing the words of “Auld Lang Syne” when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day. That poem was written by 18th century poet and lyricist Robert Burns who is considered by many to be Scotland’s national poet. Each year, Burns’ literary work is celebrated on or around his birthday – Jan. 25 – with a tradition that has spread far beyond Scotland.
That tradition is known as Robbie Burns Day and it’s been celebrated and honoured in Eganville for the past 20-plus years thanks to the Guy Jamieson and his son Rob.
“Much like the Irish do St. Patricks Day, the Scottish you do Robbie Burns Day,” said Rob Jamieson. “So my father and I started this event about 21 years ago to celebrate Robbie Burns in Eganville. typically the Robbie Burns celebrations are actually done in peoples' homes with a small group of family and friends, but we decided that we'd do it publicly and do it with the community.”
This year, rather than organizing the typical dinner featuring the traditional Scottish fare of haggis, Guy and Rob changed the format of their Robbie Burns Day celebration with a menu that focused on music and dance.
“For a traditional Burns night, you actually have a special meal and you do a toast to the lasses and a reply from the lasses and we've done that for 20 years. But this year we changed it and decided to get rid of the supper part and just make it a nice afternoon of performances,” said Jamieson. “It brought an even higher turnout this year because not everyone wanted to pay $30 for the dinner and this is earlier in the day so easier for some to attend.”
The festivities took place at the Eganville Legion on Jan. 28 from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m., and welcomed more than 120 guests of all ages, with many donning tartan garments or kilts.
Over the course of the two hours, local musicians and dancers honoured Robert Burns and entertained their audience with traditional Scottish poetry, song and dance.
Along with celebrating Scotland’s national poet and honouring Scottish culture, the event also served to raise funds for the Bonnechere Museum – with all attendees donating $10 apiece.
“We've been doing fundraising for the museum for the last 10 years now as part of this event. Originally we just did it as a Jamieson family get-together where we welcomed the community to celebrate Robbie Burns with us. Then the museum came along and asked if they could work with us and make it a fundraiser, which is what we’ve been doing every year since then,” said Jamieson.