On Friday November 22nd, I went to my first Scottish ceilidh. A ceilidh is a Gaelic social gathering with folk music, dancing, and drinks, and Scottish ceilidhs are traditional events that Scottish men certainly wear kilts to!
The ceilidh I went to was actually a fundraiser for my basketball team and the basketball club at the University of Edinburgh, EUBC. For the ceilidh, the club rented out a private venue in Old Town called The Counting House and hired a three-person, local ceilidh folk band.
I went to the ceilidh with three of my girlfriends from Georgetown studying abroad in Edinburgh. Rach, Kary, Jaina, and I took a picture with my friend Chris who wore a kilt. Don’t be fooled by the Scottish kilt… Chris is from Wisconsin! This ceilidh was the first ceilidh that all three of my girlfriends had been to, and we were all excited to learn about the tradition, listen to folk music, and dance with some Scots!
Before each dance, the caller in the folk band would quickly explain the different steps, and then as the music began, everyone just tried their best. There are many different ceilidh dances and songs, and known of my Scottish friends there knew every single dance we did that night. Some dances required partners, while others required two couples. For some dances, we promenaded in circles, and for others, we scurried through lines of dancers. At the end of the ceilidh, all of the dancers joined hands, swung our arms, and sang Auld Lang Syne–which is the traditional way to end a ceilidh. Auld Lang Syne is a famous Scots poem that was written by Robert Burns in 1788 and that was set to folk music.
The ceilidh was a lot of fun! I love to dance, and I had a blast learning different ceilidh dances and dancing with friends from Georgetown and EUBC! I will include a sample video of ceilidh dancing from a Scottish wedding, so you can hear some Scottish folk music and see some ceilidh dancing in action!