Foreign residents raised their glasses and toasted Kemal Ataturk and their host country, Turkey, at a traditional Scottish Burns Night Supper held in Calis, Fethiye last Friday.

Foreign residents raised their glasses and toasted Kemal Ataturk and their host country, Turkey, at a traditional Scottish Burns Night Supper held in Calis, Fethiye last Friday.

Seventy people, Scottish, English, American, German, Welsh and Turkish, many wearing kilts and traditional highland dress, gathered at the Lighthouse Restaurant for the event which was organized by the Calis Carnival Committee.
 
The feast to celebrate the immortal memory of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, commenced with the customary reading of “The Selkirk Grace”.  After a first course of soup, the main course of  haggis, Scotland’s national dish of offal and oatmeal encased in a skin,  was ceremonially piped in on the bagpipes by Calis resident Charlie Leighton as guests stood in honour and  slow handclapped it’s approach to the top table.

Carnival Chairman Peter Clark then addressed the haggis reciting Burn’s famous poem “To a Haggis” enthusiastically slicing into the dish with a sgian dubh (a traditional Scottish knife) allowing the entrails to spew forth. The ceremony was then concluded by toasting the dish with Scottish whisky before the haggis was returned to the kitchen for serving with traditional Neeps and Tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes).

After the supper, there were formal toasts. Peter Clark gave the loyal toast to Ataturk and the host country, Colin Rous gave a tribute speech and toast to the Immortal Memory of Burns, Russ Broadbent toasted the Lassies and Sian Rouse gave an amusing reply to the Laddies on behalf of the female guests. 

Pomp and ceremony concluded, guests were then treated to a display of highland dancing by 8 year old Garreth Rous and bagpipe music before being invited to take the floor to learn traditional Scottish dancing, jigs and reels.

Robert Burns is the best loved Scottish poet, admired not only for his verse and great love-songs, but also for his character and high spirits. He came to fame as a poet when he was 27 years old, and his lifestyle of wine, women and song made him famous all over Scotland. 

The feast to celebrate Robert Burns has been an annual ritual for over 200 years. The ritual was started by close friends of Burns a few years after his death in 1796 as a tribute to his memory. The friends who gathered read a selection of his works and talked about the impact that Burns and his writing had on their lives. Since then Burns Night Suppers have traditionally been held on 25 January all over the world

Money raised from the Burns Night event will go towards the Calis Carnival Charity , helping deprived and disadvantaged children in the Calis and Fethiye area. The Carnival which is the first of it’s kind to be held in Western Turkey will take place on Saturday 7 June.

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