Burns, a celebrated Romantic poet, champion of Scottish culture and the writer of "Auld Lange Syne", is beloved by Scots. His January 25 birthday is celebrated every year with recitation of his poetry, Scotch whisky and the ceremonial carving of a haggis.
Burns' connection to St. Louis? Most obvious is the statue of the man at the corner of Forsyth and Skinker Boulevards, donated by the Burns Society in 1928 and restored in 2008. And then there's the large percentage of Midwesterners who claim Scottish ancestry.
"Address to a Haggis" couldn't be too stodgy to ban a game of dress-up.
Amongst the dozen or so kilts twirling around the bar and dining room last night, not one Scotsman showed up in a crevat and waistcoat to pay tribute to man the Scots call The Bard. The night rebounded from that disappointment, as most embraced the spirit of the evening. The Celtic music was in top form and the Scottish Arms' near-ridiculous selection of whisky -- $25 for a whisky tasting -- inspired even Polish and Irish celebrators to toast Robbie Burns with vigorous abandon. Beers were downed and haggis was tried and several lame William Wallace accents were attempted, though thankfully no one took to shouting "Freedom!"
The natural joy of the evening seemed uncharacteristic for a place that had never hosted a proper Burns Supper before. How did this come together and why now?