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.)