This is the weekend where it is dangerous to be a "great chieftan o the puddin' race." Tonight around the world, Scots will honour the great national poet, Robbie Burns. One of the highlights of the evening will be the "Address to a Haggis" in which the knife is plunged into the poor beastie, "Trenching your gushing entrails bright."
Wee beastie? Isn't a haggis nothing more than a big sausage? Not according to some. Alix Williams and Alison Smith of the Scottish Society of Ottawa, for example, have helped settle in Canada two refugee haggi: Hamish of the Clan Haggis and his wife Heather. They arrived here last November, probably hoping that their lives would be safer as the Burns Supper season approached. But we're sure that the two haggi have gone into hiding for the weekend.
Alix explained something of the natural history of the haggis in a recent interview with Henry Burris on CTV.
For those haggi who are not able to find shelter and a place to hide, the prospects for tonight are decidedly gruesome. Here's one of the ritual stabbing of the haggis, complete with invocation by the high priest.
Tonight at the SSO Burns Supper at the Heart and Crown, the inimitable Stuart Jardine will do the honours. He will be joined by Scott Reid who will deliver the Immortal Memory, Tim Powers who will toast the lassies, and Lisa MacLeod MPP who will reply on the lassies' behalf. During the evening David Barnes will perform traditional songs from Burns.
Meanwhile, in Montreal, the St. Andrew's Society will hold its annual Burns Supper at the University Club. The organizer of Montreal's kilt skate, Dr. Gillian Leitch is wondering if she use use the Address to a Haggis as a ceremonial offering to the gods of winter to help keep the temperatures in the comfortable-for-winter range of minus-10 degrees C. Last year's Montreal kilt skate went ahead at minus-35 with the wind chill. This year's kilt skate will take place in more moderate weather (we hope) on Saturday, January 30, at the Vieux Port from 2-4 p.m.
Just up the hill from the Montreal kilt skate will be an event that will rival Saskatoon's giant snowball fight we blogged about yesterday.
At noon the city of Montreal will host the first Pan-American Tree Toss competition at Place Jacques-Cartier, just up the hill from the kilt skate. Go watch people toss trees -- or for a $10 participation fee, toss one yourself! Then continue down to the Vieux Port for the kilt skate.
.Finally, courtesy of Macbeth's Butchers, here's a study of how to hunt the wild haggis.