Dancing the Gay Gordons in Granollers

Burns Night is on January 25th and celebrated all over the world, including in Granollers!

Robert Burns, the Scottish national poet, was born on this day in 1759 and lived his short life of 37 years with gusto. He wrote poetry, much of it radical and passionate.  He was a farmer, a radical, a supporter of the French revolution, lover of women, collector of traditional songs and he had a wonderful sense of humour.

Each year on this day thousands if not millions of people all over the world have a special dinner which more or less follows a set pattern.

We had the same group of people as last year with the additional of lovely Lydia who is 3 months old and my friend Cristina from Barcelona who read the Selkirk Grace in perfect Scots

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

 We ate cock a leekie soup thanks to Tiffany, vegetarian haggis flown in from Scotland, neeps and tatties minus the neeps because I could not find a single turnip in Catalunya, and then Cranachan, the raspbery, oats, cream and whisky pudding that is traditional on this night.

We had songs, poems and even a burst of dancing the Gay Gordons.
This video is not of the Gay Gordons dance but as I was searching I found a dance group called the Gay Gordons and I love it. I have a big soft spot for gay men dancing after so many years of learning ballroom and tango and line dancing with them in London.  Great kilts!

Anyway, we had a perfect night,  not only remembering Burns but also introducing him to a wider world.  And seeing Lydia dancing in her Scottish dress – bought last year in Inverary – was a delight.

And here is our Catalan translation by Pep Mogas of one of Robert Burns most famous songs

El meu amor és rosa roja
Que s’obre al juny de nou
El meu amor és melodia
D’un cant dolç que em commou

Com més formosa ets, amor
més enamorat em fas
T’estimaré aixi, fins que
eixuts siguin els mars

Fins que eixuts siguin els mars, amor
I el sol no fongui els rocs
T’estimaré aixi, amor
Mentre em bategui el cor

Que et vagi bé unic amor
Que et vagi bé molt temps
Jo tornaré de nou llavors
deu mil milles faré

Burns Night in Granollers

This was very different from the Burns night we celebrated in Barcelona a few years ago. It feels so much better celebrating with good friends and being relaxed even though there wasn’t so much room for the Gay Gordons. As I was mugging up on all things Robert Burnsy I also learnt quite a lot that I hadn’t known before.

  • Lots of people all over the world know Auld Lang Syne but have never heard of Robert Burns.
  • In Catalunya they call that song  ‘És L’Hora Dels Adiéus’ 
  • Burns died age 37 only a few days after writing to a cousin pleading for money to pay a bill
  • As with many genius’ he died in poverty but his funeral was attended by thousands
  • The traditional of Burns Suppers was started by his friends after his death and the food is based on his favourite dishes
  • The bawdy poems are available on the internet and some of them are very funny*
  • For 5 people you do need two vegetarian haggis – everyone had second helpings!
  • Cock-a-Leekie soup has prunes in it but you can’t tell when you eat it

This was our menu

  • Cock-a-Leekie Soup
  • Haggis with Neeps and Tatties
  • Cranachan with ginger biscuits instead of shortbread
  • Oatcakes with French cheeses (in honour of the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France)
  • Whisky – 10 year 12 year and 18 year

I had bought the haggis and turnips in the UK last week but I wonder if you can get them in Barcelona?  Must look into that for next year when I hope to have my first home grown potatoes.
The whole menu was vegetarian although I read last week that the vegetarian haggis is a mythical creature – they are a carnivorous species!

Here are our lovely MacGuests- thanks so much for getting into the spirit of the evening!

And I’ll finish with a Scottish joke to remind us of the strange link between the Scots and the Catalans who are both the butts of this kind of joke!

A Thoughtful Scottish Husband

Did you hear about the thoughtful Scotsman who was heading out to the pub? He turned to his wee wife before leaving and said, ‘Jackie – put your hat and coat on lassie.’
She replied, ‘Awe Iain that’s nice – are you taking me to the pub with you?’
‘Nah, I’m just switching the central heating off while I’m oot.’

*If you want to see the one I read out then leave me a comment and I’ll print it!