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The Family Tree - April/May 2003
SE Ohio's 12th Annual Burns Dinner


By Kara Lewis
Director, Madog Center for Welsh Studies, URG
 
The Tri-Valley Celtic Society held their 12th Annual Burns Dinner.  It was held at the OSU Agricultural Center near Jackson, OH on January 18th.
 
The custom began in Scotland when close friends of Robert Burns gathered following the death of the famous Scottish poet in 1796.  Since that date, the celebration of the poet's life has been held on or around his birthday in January (25th).  In these 200 years since then, the rituals involved in this event have been preserved.
 
The chairman of our Burns Dinner is Scott Leach, President of the Tri-Valley Celtic Society. The gathered company stood to receive the haggis which was carried by Tim Campbell. A piper, Alan Pine, led the chef who carried the haggis to the top tablewhile the guests accompanied them with a slow handclap. The chairman then recited Burns' famous poem "To a Haggis".  After ritualistically the haggis, a toast was made to it.
 
We then dined on a feast prepared largely by Ruth Leach, Janie Leach and Krista Doss. In addition, guests also brought dishes for all to enjoy. The selection was not for the faint at heart, as bear, beaver, dove, rabbit, venison, lamb and of course, haggis (and all that is involved in that!) were served!  For a Welsh vegetarian like myself, fortunately, there were many other less carnivorous dishes!
 
Entertainment followed the feast. Usually, the program is diverse, thus honoring the diversity of Burns's works.  Roy Moses and I played our Dulcimers.  Our selections included Scottish, Welsh,and Irish pieces along with some Appalachian fiddle tunes for good measure.  Alan Pine followed this with a selection of more somber Scottish and Irish fiddle tunes.
 
Naturally, poetry was recited; Krista Doss read "To a Louse" in a very convincing Scottish accent.  Nancy Trimble then read from Scottish Lore and Folklore to the delight of the audience.
 
The evening culminated with the company standing, linking hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.
 
The "Immortal Memory" of Robert Burns was celebrated in style thanks to the hard work and preparation of the Leach and Doss families, and thanks to those 50 or so people who braved the snowy weather to celebrate and enjoy a night of tradition and friendship.
 
Remember the Annual Tri-Valley Celtic Festival will be held June 7 & 8, URG.  Call 740-245-7186 for info.)


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