We celebrated Burns Night this week.

Although this year large celebrations couldn’t take place, it gave us a good excuse to look back in the archives at past celebrations.

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, the author of many Scots poems.

The suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday, January 25, known as Burns Night.

However, in principle, celebrations may be held at any other time of the year.

The first supper was held in memoriam at Burns Cottage by Burns’s friends, on July 21, 1801, the fifth anniversary of his death; it has been a regular occurrence ever since.

They then held a Burns Supper on what they thought was his birthday in 1802, but in 1803, they discovered the Ayr parish records that noted his date of birth was actually January 25, 1759.

Since then, suppers have been held on or about January 25.

Burns Suppers may be formal or informal. Both typically include haggis, Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns’s poetry.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many celebrations have moved online and were popular among families eating at home.

A bagpiper generally greets the guests, who gather and mix as at any informal party.

At less formal gatherings, traditional Scottish music is played.

The host says a few words welcoming everyone to the supper and perhaps stating the reason for it.

All the guests are seated and grace is said, usually using the Selkirk Grace, a well-known thanksgiving said before meals that uses the Scots language.

Although attributed to Burns, the Selkirk Grace was already known in the 17th century as the “Galloway Grace” or the “Covenanters’ Grace”.

It came to be called the Selkirk Grace because Burns was said to have delivered it at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk.

We’ve taken a look back in the archives at previous celebrations across the county.

Do you recognise anyone in these pictures? Let us know!