Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Robbie Burns Day - Gung Haggis Fat Choy

I know I look a teensy bit hungover - and it's a possibility. Today is after all Robbie Burns Day and that deserves celebrating. I didn't choose the last name McMillan by accident you know - there is a lot of Scotland in my genetic makeup. There is a lot of Scotland in Canada's makeup as well and the traditions are strong here.

In Vancouver we add a little twist. It will shortly be the Chinese New Year (the year of the Rabbit in case you didn't know) and many will combine the celebrations. Add the traditional Burns Supper dish to the Chinese New Year Greeting (Gung Hei Fat Choy) and you get the title of my post. My friend and I are preparing for a multi cultural feast and I may require a few days rest afterwards.

I was going to share with you Robbie's Address to the Haggis but some of my readers have difficulty with Auld Lange Syne so it would probably be almost impossible to decipher the Address. Instead I've chosen one of his best and favourite song poems - A Man's A Man For A' That. And to show that you don't have to be a staid 18th Century singer to deliver this toast to the egalitarian spirit I have a recent version of the song for you. I'll provide the words in case you have trouble following - you enjoy the music and Lang may yer lum reek!

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.


Brinda said...

Just saw this... I worked with our Scot estimator and engineer for the last 15 years of my working life... it took me 3 of those years to cut through the brogue.
What a priceless man he was.
[And he hated haggis] lol

Anonymous said...

The 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner on January 30th featured Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran with co-hosts actor Patrick Gallagher, Jenna Chow (CBC Radio), Tetsuro Shigematsu (actor/comedian/writer) and creator Toddish McWong.

Also featured was 16 year old fiddler Jocelyn Pettit and the Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums, as well as bagpiper Joe McDonald.

see pictures at:

New web page is

Honour McMillan said...

Thank you Anonymous! :)