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Ceidlidh?

Has anyone ever attended a Ceilidh? Would love to hear whether anyone recommends Mom and I attending one while in Edinburgh next week!

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515 posts

Mike- It is actually in some kind of a hall. Apparently it’s a monthly thing. I’m just trying to i’m just trying to find a very traditionally Scottish experience for Mom and I and it sounds like it could be fun but I’m not sure!

Posted by
906 posts

Hi, Kristen,

If it's in a hall, that's not too bad. If it was in a hotel, I wouldn't recommend it. Back in the old days, a ceilidh would usually be held in a village hall, with a ceilidh band (fiddle, accordion, drums), sometimes a solo piper, a singer of sad Gaelic songs, and lots of food and whisky.

These days, ceilidhs are still held around Scotland. Every Scottish folk festival (and there are many) has one, usually on the final night. Except for the Isle of Bute, which hosts the World Ceilidh Band Championship competition over several days in early July. However, ceilidhs, large and small, can be found just about everywhere.

There is usually a lot of group dancing of strathspeys and reels, tunes like "The Gay Gordons," "Dashing White Sergeant," "The White Cockade," etc. The eightsome reel will most likely be the most popular dance, followed by Strip the Willow. If the evening goes the way that I think it will, you and your mum will most likely be invited to join in the dancing. Don't be shy - most of the people there will be new to it as well. Prepare to be very sweaty by the end of the evening!

Ceilidhs often show up in movies filmed in Scotland, like "Local Hero," "I Know Where I'm Going," "Whisky Galore" (the original Ealing Studios version), etc.

Have a wonderful time!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
515 posts

Thanks so much for that great information, Mike! It sounds like it could be fun and a great way to experience some culture!

Posted by
5461 posts

Went to a great Ceilidh in Strathpeffer a number of years ago in the Pavilion. It was great. Filled with locals and everybody dancing. I had a bum knee and couldn't dance, but it was fun to watch. There are some dances that are easy to do. With a partner who knows the dance, you can do Gay Gordons. :) Check out this list. You may recognize the Virginia Reel and Strip the Willow is often danced at contra dances in the US.

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515 posts

Thanks so much for the website, Pamela! It sounds like this could be a great experience for Mom and I!

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44 posts

Ceilidh is just the name for a celebration. I belong to a group that has a Christmas Ceilidh each year to celebrate our love of or connection to Scotland.