Ceilidh [ˈkʲʰeːli]
“an informal social gathering with folk music, singing, dancing, and storytelling”


I have to admit that last Friday was the best night ever! I had the opportunity to go to a Scottish gathering in a pub. I can’t even remember when is the last time I danced this much! Ok ok, I don’t usually do typical Scottish dances, but it was AMAZING! The first time I came to Edinburgh, I sadly didn’t know what a ceilidh was. If I had known, I would have danced every night until sunrise.

How does this Ceilidh thing work? So one of the band members walks us through each dance. He explains each part of it until it seems like we understand. We try it once without music before doing it “full out”. Then, the music starts, he gives us the cue so we all start at the same time and you just hope you remember the moves! Each dance lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. The dance moves aren’t really hard, you just have to remember them!

Here’s an example:

The Canadian Barn Dance

  1. Starting with the outside foot, walk forward for three steps and hop (or kick).
  2. Walk backwards for three steps and hop.
  3. Skip sideways away from your partner (men towards the centre of the room, ladies towards the edge) for two steps and clap.
  4. Return to partner and join in ballroom (waltz) hold.
  5. In ballroom hold, skip sideways to the man’s left, lady’s right for two steps then back again.
  6. Use four step-hops to polka anti-clockwise round the room.

Not to bad eh?! So, you drink beer and dance all night long, what’s not to like in this? The only negative thing I have to say is that the only people wearing kilts were the band, but a few kilts are better than none!

So if you ever visit Scoltand, you have to go to a Ceilidh, even if you don’t really fancy dancing. You have the chance to see up close a part of the Scottish culture!

Stephanie Lacasse


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