The Yorkton and District Scottish Society celebrated the 254th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns at the Royal Canadian Legion in Yorkton January 29. Members of the community were welcomed to enjoy a Scottish dinner service in memory of Burns. The celebrators also contributed to the composition of original songs and poetry.
Burns is regarded as Scotland's national bard and is one Scotland's most important literary characters. Burns, who was born to an impoverished family on January 25, 1759, devoted his life to inspiring the lives of many through his songs and poetry. In his hometown Alloway, Ayrshire, the only opportunity for Burns was farming. But his father then recognized the importance of education and hired a teacher to advise Burns in literature. The poverty of his early life inspired him to uplift the lives of others by living life in simplicity. Before passing away in 1796, his famous poem entitled "Tom O'Shanter" was published. Burns became famous for his political views, love for the lassies and remarkable pieces of literature.
A fair crowd of approximately 120 set up a sprightly atmosphere in the hall. Eva Gillard, a member of The Yorkton and District Scottish Society, stressed the importance of including infants in the event as a way to keep the tradition going. Scottish traditions were also showcased through Scottish attire worn by the majority of the crowd as a fun way to promote the Scottish culture. Dress was kilts and Sporran for the men and sashes for the women, which were colour-dependent to distinguish from other Scottish families.
A highlight for many guests was talking to real Scot Donald Alexander-MacLeod, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland before moving to Ontario at age 35 in 1966. He had originally planned to go to the west coast, but instead settled in Saskatchewan.
The celebration began with a humorous little speech with regard to Scottish Heritage delivered by the Master of Ceremonies, Taylor Morrison. A piper and a sword bearer accompanied the parading of the haggis, which was followed by a haggis bearer. Susan Robertson presented the Haggis to the audience, while quoting one of Burns' most credited pieces.
Everyone enjoyed a traditional Scottish meal. Kathy Morrell and Wendy Smith delivered the immortal memory message, which was the main speech of the evening to underline the reasons why Robert Burns' life should be immortal.
Subsequently, Geoff Rushowick delivered the Toast the Lassies, a thank-you to the women for the cooked meal, and Bonnie Rushowick delivered the reply. Once the formal portion of the evening ended, another Scottish tradition was displayed; the crowd sung "Auld Lang Syne".
Shortly after, guests were entertained by some of Scotland's dances fizzing with diversity. The Yorkton and District Pipe Band, the Highland Dancers, and the Scottish Country Dancers sprung with spectacular displays demonstrating an abundance of local talent.
Well thought-out planning resulted in a very successful celebration. When everything was wrapped up, the crowd left with a taste of Scottish heritage.