Protocol for Piping a Formal Dinner: A Ceremonial Information for Highland Bagpipers

It is considered that the customized of dining in started in the monasteries, was adopted by the early universities, and later unfold to armed forces units when the officer’s mess was recognized. British officers of the 19th century have been drawn from the aristocracy, and even though they regarded on their own gentlemen, they were being not automatically males of implies third and fourth sons had little opportunity of inheriting title and lands less than primogeniture. Whilst the pooling of sources may well have been out of economic requirement, the regimental officer’s mess managed the social stratification of English culture and ensured that the traditions of gentlemanly perform were being managed and inculcated to junior officers. The principal aspects are a rigidly formal location, espirit de corps and the camaraderie of friends, a wonderful evening meal, standard toasts to the head of state and armed forces companies, martial music and the attendance of honored friends or speakers. Today, although the goal of a supper might be to notice an appointment, marketing, retirement, or some auspicious event, a central concept of such gatherings is a ceremonial focus on the history of the host organization.

When the custom of having a piper at higher desk may perhaps have it truly is origins in the clan procedure in Scotland & Eire, the official dinners and dining in ceremonies as we know them today are right attributable to the traditions of the officers mess in the British Army and Royal Navy. At first fife & drums or trumpeters had been utilized to sound the phone calls as Highland regiments had been organized, pipers have been used not only for this function, but to rejoice excellent battles and victories in the historical past of the regiment and to memorialize their lifeless, fairly in holding with the Celtic bardic tradition. It ought to be borne in thoughts that initially Army pipers ended up outfitted and paid not by the Exchequer but completely by the officer’s mess without their patronage, contemporary Highland regiments would not have at any time experienced pipers, and devoid of the Military to preserve and develop on this tradition the terrific Highland bagpipe would be about as common to most persons right now as the zampogna.

When a piper is requested to pipe the calls and the tunes at a formal supper, you may well be engaged to carry out in the course of evening meal to supply a limited efficiency these kinds of as pipe in the head desk, pipe the lament and/or pipe in the port or to just pipe in the head desk and depart. While there are several distinctive traditions associated with formal eating, the pursuing are some of the customs related with piping a formal supper. You could be asked for to conduct some, all, or some variant of any of them on event.


This sort of affairs are invariably official, demanding black tie, sometimes white tie, or total parade regalia. Miniature decorations and medals are worn. If traveling a pipe banner, be certain that the drone cords and/or ribbons are to the left of the banner i.e., not around the regimental crest. If there is extra than a person piper, the banner is traditionally flown by the position piper present, who will lead the detachment, fashioned up in purchase of rank or seniority.


The seating arrangement at the head table is generally primarily based on rank, seniority and status. The host sits in the middle, the following senior individual (or visitor of honor) to his/her appropriate, the upcoming senior man or woman to his/her left and so on, until all are seated. The senior-rating member of the mess is the head (or “President”) of the mess evening meal and sits in the middle. The President of the Mess may appoint a next (“Mr. Vice”), commonly the junior officer of the mess, who will be in cost of scheduling, and who commonly occupies the seat farthest from the host, sometimes on the considerably correct, in some cases at yet another desk. Officers consider priority above civilians. If a visitor speaker has no rank or standing, he/she is positioned as close to the centre (ideal of the host) as possible with no offending rank priority. Chaplains are usually involved at the head table, generally at the considerably left of the President.

Warning Phone calls

15 minute and 5 minute warning phone calls are generally sounded to notify the friends that meal is about to be served, and may possibly be supplied by a piper. When piping warning calls a small up-tempo tune is demanded but no specific title may perhaps be recommended. In some regiments it would be the Officers Phone (e.g., “All the Blue Bonnets Are O’er The Border”). A naval tradition is to ring “six bells” (19:00) on a ship’s bell for the 15-moment warning (if dining at 7:15 PM, of program). Supper could be signaled by a temporary pipe tune (“Brose and Butter” is a traditional a single), adopted by the host or learn of ceremonies saying, “Evening meal is served!”


The attendees (except the head desk) will progress into the eating place and stay standing driving their chairs the closer to top table, the bigger the rank or seniority. You could be asked for to pipe in the attendees. The head table types up in buy of seating, led by the host and the principal guest. When cued, lead the persons of the head table into the eating area taking part in an acceptable tune “Roast Beef of Outdated England”, “A Man’s A Man for all That”, “Prince of Denmark’s March”, or the regimental march. If house permits, parade counter clockwise all over the place. This is particularly vital when flying a drone banner. The regimental crest on the obverse of the banner is constantly exhibited initially. When all people is in spot, continue to march, and complete participating in at the halt in close proximity to the eating-home entrance. At a signal from the host, cease participating in and remain at focus right until grace has been explained. If you are not to supply the tunes through evening meal, march from the home right after grace is reported.

Posting the Hues

An honor guard could put up and retire the colours as a piper you may be requested to pipe them in and out. As the American and Canadian countrywide anthems are not able to be correctly performed on the pipes, other ideal patriotic tunes need to be selected. If you march in with the colour guard, make absolutely sure that you happen to be well rehearsed in their drill 1st they march in near purchase with wheeling actions to alter direction. Of program, if not participating in stand at attention with pipes down for the Nationwide Anthem(s). If you are traveling a drone banner, look at the color guard and fall your bass drone from horizontal when they dip the hues.

The Lament

In some armed forces and veterans businesses it is customary to keep in mind comrades killed in action, sometimes with an empty put placing, from time to time with a little table in advance of the head desk. You may possibly be requested to engage in a lament in their memory. “Flowers of the Forest” is traditional, but other laments could perform equally as very well if the host has expressed no preference.

Piping in the Beef

In some traditions, the principal training course (typically beef) is ceremoniously piped in to the head table (or “Mr. Vice”), which will sample it and formally announce it suit for usage. “Roast Beef of Aged England” or “A Man’s a Gentleman For All That” may be utilized if not performed formerly to pipe in the head desk. You might pipe the beef out as effectively.

Piping in the Haggis

If haggis is served (these types of as a Burn’s Meal), pipe the haggis to the head desk to “A Man’s a Gentleman For All That”. Stand at awareness for the recital of Burn’s “Tackle to a Haggis”, and participate in the toast to his “immortal memory”. Pipe the haggis out to “Neil Gow’s Farewell to Whisky”.

Main Course Tunes

Wait around until eventually all at the head table has been served right before commencing to participate in ideal picks intermittently all through the primary program. A piobaireachd is usually regarded as customary. If parading all-around the area, it is customary to start out “widdershins” counterclockwise. If traveling a pipe banner, it might be acceptable to countermarch as well, in order to display the device crest on the obverse aspect. Prior to the port wine remaining served, the host/delegate will signal you to stop taking part in.

Piping in the Port

An previous personalized is the piping in of the port wine for the Loyal Toast. Following dessert and espresso are served, tables are cleared besides for the desk decorations and wine glasses. No distinctive new music is necessary, but it should really be brief and ideal. On cue, guide the wine stewards into the eating home, positioning your self at a predetermined spot, and go on to engage in right up until the wine is about to be sampled and declared potable by the host. Sometimes the piper will play as the port is passed down the tables as the company cost their eyeglasses. Remain at focus till the Loyal Toast is drunk and then march from the area, except necessary to stay for the Toast to the Corps.

Faithful Toast

If a Commonwealth supper (or if Uk guests are present), you may be asked for to perform “God Help you save the Queen” before the Loyal Toast. The individual proposing the toast will check with everyone to stand and be a part of him in a toast to the Queen. The member will then increase his/her wineglass shoulder large and say: “The Queen”. The assembly will reply: “The Queen”.

If an American evening meal, the host might propose a toast to the Commander-in-Chief. Mr. Vice seconds this by increasing and addressing the enterprise, indicating, “Gentlemen, the Commander-in-Main of the United States”. Each member and visitor then stands, repeats in unison the toast (e.g., “The Commander-in-Main of the United States”), sips the drink, and continues to be standing. The band then plays the Nationwide Anthem. If piping, enjoy “The us the Beautiful” or “God Bless America”. At the summary of the songs, associates and guests are once again seated.

Toast to the Corps

You may possibly be requested to enjoy the regimental march prior to a Toast to the Corps. Regrettably, the only American regimental marches that “healthy” very well on the pipes are the “Maritime Corps Hymn” and “Semper Paratus”.

Paying out the Piper

At the summary of your effectiveness, the host could offer you you (or the guide piper) a quaich made up of a dram (about 3.5 ml) of whisky. Stand to the still left of the host. Getting the quaich in each arms, keep it shoulder large and facial area the head table. It is regular for the piper to toast the head table (Sláinte! “to your well being” in Gaelic phonetically Slanjer or Slanja), turn to the enterprise and present a formal toast. Next the toast, you might be envisioned to consume the whisky in one particular draught, toast the firm (Sláinte!), and flip the cup more than and kiss the bottom. Pursuing the ceremony, just take your depart of the head table and march from the room. Except you’re Gaelic is incredibly excellent, you’re almost certainly ideal off giving your official toast in English.

The conventional Pipe Major’s toast of the Liverpool Scottish may possibly be tailored to a array of events


Slainte mhor, Slainte Banrighinn

Slainte agus buaidh gu brath

le Gillean Forbasach.


Slanjervaw, slanjer banreen

Slanjer aggus booey goo bra

la gillian forbusach


Superior wellness, health to the Queen

Overall health and accomplishment for at any time

to the Forbes lads


At the conclusion of the dinner, you may perhaps be asked for to participate in the Nationwide Anthem. As neither “The Star Spangled Banner” nor “Oh Canada” can be played productively on the limited tonal array of the pipes, perform “The usa the Attractive” or “Maple Leaf Eternally” in its place. Of training course, if not actively playing stand at consideration with pipes down for the Nationwide Anthem(s). If you’re traveling a drone banner, enjoy the coloration guard and drop your bass drone from horizontal when they dip the hues.

Duty Tunes of the 48th Highlanders of Canada

Officers Mess Connect with (15 minutes)

“Bannock & Barley Meal”

Food Call (5 minutes)

“Caller Herrin'”

Pipe in Visitors

“Lt. Col. Robertson”

Pipe in Head Table

“Highland Laddie”


“Bouquets of the Forest”

Initial Established (Primary System)

Ends with “Highland Laddie”

Second Set (Dessert)

Finishes with “Lt. Col. Robertson”

Pipe Major’s Toast:


A Mhàidseir na pìoba, òlamaid deoch-slàinte!

(Pipe Main, let us consume a toast)

Pipe Major’s reply:

A h-uile latha a chì ‘s nach fhaic, an dà fhicheadamh ‘s a h-ochd gu bràth! Slàinte don Bhànrigh! Slàinte Mhòr! Slàinte!

(Each and every working day that I see you, or that I do not see you, the 48th eternally! Overall health to the Queen! Great good health! Overall health!)

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